Saturday, March 27, 2010


FIRST LINE: "'Watch this.'"

Private Investigator Frank Johnson is being hounded by the IRS for taxes he needs to pay when a job comes along requiring him to track a missing Turkey. He isn't very keen on the idea, but the client was referred to him by his lawyer associate, Robert Gatlin, and of course there's the issue of the taxes that need to be paid. So Frank sets off for Turkey to try to locate the American diplomat, Sylvester Mercedes, who walked out of his hotel one Sunday morning never to be seen again. Frank manages to uncover several dead ends when an employee at the hotel is murdered. Evidence suggests that the murder could be connected to Mercedes, but can Frank prove it. And just where did Mercedes go?

TROGLODYTES is the fourth book in Lynskey's Frank Johnson series. Johnson is the epitome of the classic PI: recovering alcoholic, divorced, and for the most part a loner. He plays by his rules and tries to buck anyone who attempts to force their own rules on him.

The Turkish setting adds an exotic air to this novel, but the actual troglodyte tunnels play a rather small role in the novel. I think I would have liked for that to be developed more, but mostly because of my own fascination with them.

Because of the setting, Lynskey is able to bring in additional unique characters that add flavor to the novel. Omar, the hotel owner, has a drawer full of Lugers and wears many hats in his hotel, including dishwasher. He also has quite an eye for the ladies. His wife Karin is an attractive spitfire of a woman who would prefer not to have to bother with the hotel, but is forced into service by circumstance. And Selami the taksi driver teams up with Johnson to try to find Mercedes.

The last quarter of the novel seemed to pick up pace considerably, but throughout the novel, Lynskey uses vivid language and smart dialogue. The Iraqi war grumbles in the backdrop of the plot as Johnson copes with his feelings about it in relation to his own veteran status.

While I did have a little background on Johnson, having read the second book in the series, THE BLUE CHEER, TROGLODYTES is one a reader could easily pick up with no background on Johnson. So, for a quick trip to Turkey, coupled with murder and mystery, try TROGLODYTES by Ed Lynskey.

TROGLODYTES is available now in trade paper from Mundania Press (ISBN: 978-1-59426-721-5).


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