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on April 14, 2013 :
One of the things I love about e-reading is the proliferation of short fiction available. I like that I can drop a buck or two on a short story by an author I love, or a few books for a few stories (or a fully fledged collection). It's the perfect format for short stories and novellas.
I nabbed this duet by Kfir Luzzatto and really enjoyed it - the book has two tales featuring Dave Callaghan, a paranormal noir detective style character whose clients are... unusual.
"Phantom Lover," by Kfir Luzzatto
This story takes the snidely humorous private detective story and turns it a bit on its head via a lady of the night who happens also to be a little less than alive (but business is still good, thanks). Luzzatto's detective, Dave Callaghan, is hired to help a young - and very wealthy - wife ensure that her husband doesn't waste away in the arms of the ghostly woman of the night. But sometimes - well, in Dave Callaghan's life, it seems like always - things aren't exactly what they seem.
The tone of the tale is spot-on: amusing, quick with the snark, and yet still containing that dark thread that keeps it rooted in the noir tradition it's building upon. I definitely want more Callaghan.
"Accidental Lazarus," by Kfir Luzzatto
The second of the two stories included in this volume has a more comic feel to it, though it's still the same private detective being confronted by another unusual client. This time, it's "Stupid Joe" - a huge hulk of a man who is a hired thug and a finger-breaker for hire. That the man had a giant hole plugged through his chest when he was shot from behind by an unknown assailant hasn't really seemed to slow him down, and now he wants Dave Callaghan to help him track down his killer, so he can get even.
That, or he'll whack Dave. It's an offer he can't quite refuse.
Investigating the dead man's killer is thrown off course by none other than Dave's girlfriend, Lizzie, who unknowingly takes a shine to the murdered Joe, and things take a turn for the (further) surreal when Joe starts to seem a little less keen on putting down the man who put him down.
Clever and amusing in turns, I liked that Luzzatto never really explains much of the paranormal in his Dave Callaghan stories - it's just a fact of life for Dave, and the type of client he gets.
This pair is a great set to introduce yourself to Luzzatto's world.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)