Best Crime Novel of the Year--Joy Ride through the Tattoo Underworld of Portland's Old Town.
The night world of Old Town, Portland, Oregon, has gone mad in the grip of gentrification, and at the center of it all is Lucky Supreme, a seedy tattoo parlor, whose proprietor is a street-bred artist with a unique approach to problem solving. Darby Holland has enough on his radar, but when some flash (tattoo artwork) stolen from him resurfaces in California he can't help himself. His efforts to reclaim it set him on a dangerous path, dragging along his delightfully eccentric colleagues, including the brains behind his brawn, Delia, a twiggy vinyl-clad punk genius secretly from the other side of the tracks. No one knows why the art signed "Roland Norton, Panama, 1955" is worth anything or how it came to hang on the walls of a tattoo shop in Portland, Oregon. Only the deranged former owner can say--and he's not talking. Before the wrecking balls swing through Old Town in the name of "progress," Darby must settle old scores and face new demons to save his reputation, his shop, and his sanity. He has secrets of his own, and a tattoo shop in Old Town was a perfect place to hide, but when cash, lies, crime, and history collide, Darby Holland will need his ramshackle skill set, his wits, and a lot of luck to rise to the top of a human food chain, or be eaten alive.
Lucky Supreme is an intuitive thrill ride from start to finish in the spirit of Elmore Leonard and Dennis Lehane. It is the first of a trilogy featuring Darby Holland, Delia, and the other unforgettable nocturnal residents of Old Town. Jeff Johnson is a hugely entertaining new voice in noir.
Johnson (Everything Under the Moon) launches the first of a noir trilogy with this highly original caper novel. Darby Holland is the proprietor of the Lucky Supreme, a tattoo parlor in the Old Town neighborhood of Portland, Ore., where he and his artists, a gang of societal misfits, have created their own niche within this gentrifying community. Johnson, a veteran tattoo artist, captures the conflict between the two cultures perfectly without any false sentiment. A phone call from a friend alerts Darby that Jason Bling, a former employee who quit without notice some months ago, has surfaced in Santa Cruz, Calif. Bling has stolen valuable original "flash" (tattoo designs) by pioneer designer Roland Norton. Darby goes to Santa Cruz, where he confronts Bling and figures out that Bling's new boss, Nicholas Dong-ju, who owns a minimall in San Francisco, may have the stolen flash. Darby ends up in a war with a wealthy collector who follows him back to Old Town. The inventive, unorthodox Darby effectively marshals his forces against thugs, officials, and even federal agents in this amusing crime tale.