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on Aug. 04, 2013 :
Nickle, Brass and Murder
Johnny Nickel is an aging trumpeter in a band called the Daybreakers. They travel Southern California from gig to gig in the smokey jazz lounges of the 1950s. Apparently, whenever Johnny is minding his own business, trouble comes looking for him.
This pulp is broken into two tales.
In "Notes in the Fog", a girl walks into a bar with a bunch of metaphoric baggage, and drops it at Johnny's feet. She's also toting a mysterious key that unlocks a murder mystery and lands Johnny in the hot set with the cops. He quickly realizes he must solve the crime before it gets pinned on him.
In "The Devil you Know" Jonny is at the top of his musical game, but his band is a guitarist short. He's in a pinch, until a fast talking music agent with a hidden agenda steps in to railroads a green talent into the group. The hasty decision comes with strife and a supernatural twist on a well known folk tale about a musician at a crossroad. A suspicious death draws in a series of unsavory characters looking for a piece of the postmortem profits.
Both stories are woven with era centric details, noir styling and archetypal pulp character and intrigue. If you enjoy characters like Sam Space, Mike Hammer, or Easy Rawlins, I suspect Johnny Nickles will leave you on a happy note.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)