When the gods of Olympus need a discreet private eye, they call Plato Jones.
Rancher Nicolas Parker would like to hire Plato, whose world is modern but ruled by the gods of Olympus, to track down the rustler who has stolen one of his finest gorgons (bad-tempered livestock). On a self-imposed hiatus after some unspecified trouble while working for Zeus and his family, Plato is very picky about which cases he'll take. And gorgons are nasty. So, he turns Parker down. Similarly, he rejects Hermes' request to probe the death of an unnamed goddess. Instead, Plato does uncomfortable stakeouts for disgruntled spouses. His personal life is likewise unrewarding. His ex-wife, Alexis, has called with the surprisingly devastating news that she's getting remarried, and his mother, who calls him PJ, wants him to cart away his stuff to make room for her new lover, James. And Plato makes the mistake of crossing the line with Bellanca, an attractive female client. So he may be feeling particularly vulnerable when Hermes returns with another request concerning Hephaestus, "The Smith God," who's been found murdered at his estate. This time, Plato accepts the challenge and is plunged into all the outrageous family dysfunction that he, perhaps wisely, had previously escaped.
In his debut novel, Warren's prose is appropriately cheeky. But his many clever conventions and inventions consistently overshadow the awkwardly structured plot. Here's hoping he can improve on his puzzles while Plato and his quirkily mashed-up world continue to delight us.