He held his black fedora in his hands and twitched his mouth nervously. He wasn’t tall at all and wore a narrow, false-looking mustache. His thinning hair was oily and combed back from his wide brow. I couldn’t help but notice a bulge in his suit, but he wasn’t happy to see me.
– Vic Boyo, Doofus Detective in: Double Murders are Twice as Bad (Location 186-187)
From Amazon: 1931, New York City: Detective Vic Boyo may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but that doesn’t stop him from solving cases as only he can. With a little luck and a whole lot of gumption, Boyo sets out to find the murderer of a local cop. Problem is, Boyo’s more interested in a gorgeous femme fatale accused of killing her husband. She’s destined for the electric chair, but Boyo’s got a hunch she might be innocent. And nobody gets in the way of Boyo’s hunches, not even Vic Boyo himself.
Other than a few missing words, this is a very well written first person narrative with the protagonist often referring to himself in the third person. I enjoyed the idiotic nature of the character, and his inability to see what was right in front of him. ALL. THE. FUCKING. TIME.
I got a few good laughs and sensible chuckles out of this book, and even did a dramatic reading of a few of my favourite excerpts for my husband. The book was fast paced but I didn’t feel rushed or like I was speed reading. I enjoyed the descriptive narrative in the story, and at times felt like I could smell, see and hear 1930s New York City. The grime, the dust, the hard times, but also the sunrises.
The slang incorporated into the direct speech, but also the narrative, was fantastic. It felt very authentic, not forced, which I was initially worried about. Clearly Fowler either did a lot of research or has a love of all things NYC OG.
“Never mind.” I thanked the operator for her help after I hung up on her. Someday, I’d remember to switch the order on that. (Locations 785-786)
“You okay, Boyo?” the kid gasped.
“You sound like a girl when you scream.”
“You look like a wimp when you get beat up.”
I smirked. “Touché.”
“Screw the French.” (Locations 977-979)
I threw my battered body upright, knocking cans and garbage all over, and sneezed the loudest sneeze I’d ever sneezed in my life, straight into the oncoming henchmen’s faces. They jumped in their skin, firing their Tommy guns into the air like startled rabbits—well-armed startled rabbits. (Locations 1034-1036)
The henchman shrugged. “Tomorrow or the day after. That’s all I know, I swear.” “Don’t,” I said. “It only shows the limit of your vocabulary.” (Locations 1253-1254)
From the second I got the request to review this book, I have been excited to read it. And I was not disappointed. The narrative flows easily, while the character seems to get stuck too much for his own good. I doubt a single day went by, in the book, without Boyo getting beaten up or shaken down. Ultimately this is good, clean, silly fun but well written and composed.
I love murder mysteries, in general, as well as thrillers, horrors and suspense. I felt like I got a pinch of each of these without any of them overshadowing the goofy, lackadaisical, haphazard approach that Victor Ignacio Boyo has for the job. The setting, the period and the characters made the book feel like a clash between of Who Frame Roger Rabbit? and Little Caesar with a noir jazz soundtrack.
I hope that the author releases more Vic Boyo detective novels, as this is definitely something that I would love to see more of! If you enjoy a bit a comedy with your murders, definitely pick this up. Don’t take it to seriously, just sit back and enjoy the idiocy. It has everything you want: tiny mustaches, dirty cops, Tommy guns, car chases, gun Molls, speakeasies and illegal liquor.
“Trust me.” I tapped my detective’s nose and adjusted my hat. The thugs hadn’t thought to check it for a concealed weapon. Who would have? Nobody in their right mind would carry a loaded gun on his head. That’s where they had me wrong. (Locations 464-465)
My rating: 4/5
Vic Boyo, Doofus Detective is available on Amazon.
This review was requested by the author.