Another darkly comic whodunit from veteran novelist Dobyns (The Burn Palace, 2013, etc.).
First O.J., now Connor Raposo: Bruno Magli needs a better product-placement company. Connor is on his way to pick up a pair of the luxurious slip-ons from a New London cobbler’s shop when he happens on a grisly sight: a motorcycle has collided with a dump truck, never a good thing. “The rider has been ripped in two so his bloody torso lies in the street, while under the truck at the end of a red smear, are the legs, one with a boot, one not.” And then there’s the head—or rather, there’s not the head, which has gone missing. Yuck. Poor Fat Bob—for so poor Roberto Rossi is known. Except is it really Fat Bob, who owes the wrong people money and knows too much about the wrong things, who’s the headless Harley horseman in question? Connor’s got his hands full with that question. Two New London detectives are working on it as well, and given that two bodies can’t occupy the same space, well….Dobyns writes with a nicely offhand goofiness: when a chopper mechanic asks the detectives whether Fat Bob is really dead, one replies, “I didn’t check his pulse, but he was in two pieces.” Yup. Adding to the grimly funny proceedings is Connor’s back story, which finds an out-of-work schoolteacher mixed up in mischief to the point that “the line between legal and illegal wasn’t so much crossed as crushed.” Connor’s a good guy, as are most of the folks we encounter in this good-natured, forgiving look at human foibles. As one of Connor’s pals observes, all of us are just waiting for the flowerpot to come dropping down from the terrace above and take us out—and the bikers, detectives, sexpots, mobsters, and other assorted figures in the book are all, as Connor knows, “flowerpots waiting to happen.”
Fat Bob is, too. And where did that head go, anyway? A lively, laugh-out-loud winner.