Thursday, September 10, 2009

Detection goes to the dogs

The second book featuring the "investigative consultant" Teddy Ruzak, The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs by Richard Yancey, follows the same pattern as the first book. Teddy is still as passive and rambling as ever, Felicia is bossy and exasperated, and not a whole lot happens.

Ruzak still doesn't have his Private Investigator's licence, having failed his first attempt at taking the test. He doesn't seem entirely motivated to study for another go-round, so when an official tells him he must close his office until he obtains a license, Ruzak isn't too bothered. In the midst of closing up his office, he looks outside and sees the body of a homeless man in the alley. This is the same homeless man that Ruzak gave money and a stained hat to the previous day. Other people will inexplicably tussle over that old, shapeless, used hat later in the book.

The police seem to have little interest in the case, but for some reason Ruzak decides that he is going to offer a $25,000 reward in order to solve it. Remember, he is out of a job for the foreseeable future, so just why he should invest money in the case is not really clear. He has plenty of time on his hands, though, so he is able to come up with some leads that the police have overlooked.

In the meantime, he gains an aggressive semi-girlfriend, but he's unable to either commit to a relationship or tell her he's not interested. She works at the animal shelter, and shows up on his doorstep one day with a dog (even though he's not allowed to have dogs in his apartment). Aside from all the wishy-washy lack of action, Ruzak also spends a great deal of the novel rambling about the existence of God. It's all very tiresome.

There are some interesting descriptions of Knoxville, and I could vividly imagine where everything was taking place -- there just wasn't much of anything else to hold my interest. An overall rating of "meh." At least the chapters are short. There was even a blank page inserted between chapters with the date the "supposed" action was taking place. All the better to pad the pages of the book without actually having to have any action or plot.

Final Verdict for The Highly Effective Detective Goes to the Dogs: One Gherkin, for being a continuation of a not very interesting series

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