David Corbett, nominated for both the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best First Novel with The Devil's Redhead, has written a powerful second crime noir with Done For A Dime, proving he is not a one-time writing wonder.
Raymond "Strong" Carlisle is a black jazz musician, hard, mean and as stubborn as an unmovable boulder. The story starts with Strong gunned down late at night in his own front yard. The only person home is his son Toby's white girlfriend, Nadya.
The detectives on the scene are night and day. Murchison is intent on finding answers. His partner, Stluka, is not shy about making his racism known. The two clash, but work together as they follow-up the only two leads. One suspect is a local gang member. The other is Toby.
Though Strong raised his son and taught him how to be a successful musician, the two never got along. When the will is found -- though it does not amount to much -- Toby is set to inherit his father's property. But is that enough to kill your father over?
There is a lot going on the story. The past comes out in concise, well-drawn flashbacks that give the mystery added flavor. Corbett defines well the sprawling cast of characters and multiple storylines, keeping it simple enough for readers to follow without hampering the complexity of the story.
As in any good crime novel, the basic rules of motive and plot apply. Done For A Dime is littered with greed, love, greed, revenge, deception, racism, and -- did I mention? -- greed. Fast, fun, and intense, this novel, like The Devil's Redhead, is bound to be a noir classic. Corbett's narrative is poetic and flowing, his dialogue crisp and real, the plotting tight and powerful. He is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.