The second novel in this terrific crime series from the No. 1 bestselling author.
Mick 'Brew' Axbrewder lost his licence as a private investigator after he accidentally shot his brother, and so now works in partnership with a tough P.I., Ginny Fistoulari. His on-off relationship with Ginny used to involve her trying to keep him sober enough to help her solve cases, but since she lost her hand in an explosion, which Brew blames himself for, Ginny has changed and Brew doesn't know how to help her. Fortunately for both of them, a call from Reg Haskell gives them something new to focus on.
Haskell is chief accountant at a bank which disguises itself as an ice-cream parlour. A cheat and a womaniser, he's got himself involved in some very nasty business, with some very nasty people. And he needs Brew and Ginny to protect him. But once they start wading through the countless lies and bodies, they begin to realise how messy things can get...
With 2001's The Man Who Fought Alone, Donaldson picked up the story line of an earlier series of original paperbacks (The Man Who Killed His Brother; The Man Who Risked His Partner; The Man Who Tried to Get Away) he wrote in the mid-'80s under the pseudonym Reed Stephens. They starred an unlikely pair of private eyes, Mick Axbrewder and Ginny Fistoulari, and in this, the second of the paperbacks to be "expanded" and reissued as a hardcover, Mick after mortally wounding his cop brother in a shooting accident is struggling to stay sober while Ginny, his partner and sometime lover, is adjusting to the loss of her left hand in an act of heroism, while wrestling with bouts of self-loathing. Following the murders of two minor mob hoods in their small southwestern city, Gin and Brew are hired to protect Reg Haskell, a bank executive, from an alleged death threat by the reigning crime boss, el Se or. The crotchety protagonists find that their client's story is chock full of lies, however. Among other problems, the charismatic (but married) Haskell is a "sexual buccaneer" with a long trail of winsome, brokenhearted bank employees in his wake. Haskell's incessant lying means an ever-changing explanation of his quandary before Gin and Brew after a couple of near-miss assassination attempts are finally able to get down to the real facts. Although fans of Donaldson's Thomas Covenant fantasy series should provide a ready readership base, this attempt at hard-boiled, Chandleresque gumshoeing feels a bit dated and flat.