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Kristi (Books N Beans)
on Jan. 04, 2012 :
This book was given to me for free by the author in exchange for a review.
Here's a pun for you in the form of a question. What gives private eyes the license to be a d**k? That's meant with all puns intended and in all meanings of the word.
It seems (at least to this reader) that private eye stories are the romance novels for men. Here's why. You're guaranteed a happy ending, in one the guy and girl get together and in the other the PI gets his crook. You get the life of a character that you know you have no chance of getting in real life, in one all the thoughtfulness and romance and in the other all the drinking, womanizing, and rudeness. Lastly, you almost always get a really well told story, even though in both cases the characters themselves may drive you insane.
Dark Blonde: A Mike Angel Private Eye Mystery by David H. Fears is a stereotypical PI story with a stereotypical lead character but a fantastic plot. The stereotypes are a lead character who is a heavy-drinking, womanizing, rude, unsophisticated, disrespectful cad, who manages to bungle his way through the mystery solving it by the skin of his teeth and through lots of unorthodox ways.
There is a bit of a fantasy aspect to this novel as well. No, not fantasy as in magic or science fiction, but fantasy as in women's romance novel fantasy. The story that will never happen in real life, but damn it's nice to wish. Isn't it? Mike Angel not only flirts and sleeps with anything in a skirt, but he has a girlfriend who is okay with the fact that he does. Most women would definitely qualify that as a fantasy, but to be fair ladies our romance novels set just as unrealistic standards.
However, if you can get over your aversion to Mike Angel and look past his distasteful ways, then you are in for a treat. Dark Blonde takes place in Chicago in the late-40's and Fears does a fantastic job of accurately documenting the events of that time: the organized crime, the corruption in the public services, the crackdown and clean-ups going on, and the political state of Chicago. It was thrilling to see such small details as the fact that Chicago is not called the windy city because of how windy it actually is, or in this case isn't. A lot of people don't know this, but Fears got it right, Chicago got it's title because of the "windy" & corrupt politicians. You're probably familiar with the saying, "Just blowing hot air."
Fears definitely keeps the plot hopping with a missing person turned murder victim, that before mentioned corruption and the clean-ups, the romantic liaisons that go way past triangles into other bizarre shapes, the characters' sordid pasts, the numerous skeletons in the closets, the beauty queen turned rotten, and the amazingly dysfunctional relationships and family dynamics.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on July 27, 2011 :
Novel Noir, you have met your author! Fears' novel chronicling the adventures of Mike Angel, private eye, was gripping from beginning to end. I hate to use a cliché here, but I have to. If you want a page-turner, this is the novel for you. I had a very difficult time putting this novel down, and Fears has made a fan of me.
What's so great about this book? In a word: Voice. Fears has perfected the voice of Mike Angel, the former NYC police officer-turned Chicago PI, and it oozes with noir magic. From the first sentence, I felt as if I was watching a film noir, in fact, Dark Blonde would be perfect for that. If you have not contacted an agent in Hollywood yet, Mr. Fears, I suggest you do so.
Mike Angel is a womanizing investigator, a character flaw that actually makes Angel that much more believable, and in my opinion, charming. I could not help but chuckle as he oogled everything that came at him in heels. Fears' treatment of Angel made his character so real that I felt as if I was right there with him.
Fears' story not only has a strong voice, but also great twists, turns, hooks that kept me wanting to know more, and an incredibly unexpected plot pivot at the end. Dark Blonde was a fantastic and absorbing read and I highly recommend it to fans of mystery, drama, film noir, or anyone who just really wants a great read. As an author, Fears has much to offer, and I look forward to seeing more from him.
(reviewed the day of purchase)