By: Don Bruns
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: December 2010
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: November 19, 2010
James Lessor and Skip More are quite a pair of guys. James does a variety of things – picks up hot women in bars; works part-time at the Cap’N Crab; spouts movie quotes at every opportune and inopportune moment; and, most of all, wants more than anything to be a Private Investigator so that he can buy a new truck. (The old truck blew up when his partner saved him).
Skip is almost exactly the opposite. Skip sells home security systems and has always been truly, madly, deeply in love with his girlfriend, Emily – who has recently left Skip so they could have some time apart. Now Skip did “go all in” with James when they decided to open More or Less Investigations; and, when they receive the paperwork from the state of Florida that heralds their brand new shiny P.I. license, the excitement begins to build for both of them.
In fact, their very first job comes along almost immediately. Moe Bradley is a man with two mean sisters, who owns four traveling carnivals. Unfortunately, people have been killed on his rides, and Moe has hired Skip and James to investigate. He wants to know who is sabotaging his business…and why. When Skip and James are hired to come join the carnival for a weekend, and stay undercover in order to ferret out the “bad guys,” the fun really begins.
Seeing as James wants to do nothing more than have ‘carnival’ relations with a severely attractive woman named Angie, who works for Moe, it falls on Skip to find out what exactly is going on in carnival land. First he meets up with Winston Pugh who runs Winnie Pugh’s Zoo. He’s an old man who is completely sick and tired of Disney trying to sue him for using a name that’s too close to Winnie the Pooh, and he believes there is a conspiracy against him…not Moe. Skip also meets Kevin Cross, a man who runs the air rifle booth, who seems to be extremely loyal to Moe Bradley and doesn’t trust Skip and James one little bit. Other characters include Bo and Charlie, who are in charge of operating the Dragon Tail ride – which is where many have been injured or plummeted to their death; and, Ken Clemens, a boyfriend of one of Moe’s sisters who goes from friendly to threatening quite quickly. Soon Skip becomes aware that he’s getting way too close too fast when a carnie is discovered dead in his trailer, and he and his partner, Skip, find themselves attacked inside the broken-down Fun House.
The dialogue is extremely funny and the main characters are complete opposites. The reader will see more of “Magnum” in the womanizing, free-wheeling, James; whereas Skip is a hard-nosed investigator who really wants to solve the crime and end up alive at the end. The mystery is quick-moving and will certainly make you think twice (if you don’t already) about how safe those broken-down rides really are that go up overnight in the parking lot of your local shopping mall.
Quill says: Pure fun. Not a story that will have you staying up at night to plow through to the end as fast as you can go in order to find the killer, but certainly a story that’s fun to pick up and read. James and Skip are definitely a dysfunctional married couple in their own way, and the carnies – especially Winnie Pugh – are hysterical. Enjoy!