I never get enough of books set in New Orleans; it's considered to be my Second Home for years as well as occupies a special place in my black heart. Jake Istenhegyi: The Accidental Detective by Nikki Nelson- Hicks and published through ProSe Press, is now a part of the list. This two day devour of a read was well packed with good action, great characters that will not be forgotten, and chickens. We can't forget the chickens.
A Chick, A Dick, and A Witch Walk Into a Barn starts the book off on a good note - Jake, formerly known as Janos who hails from Hungary, is owner of the Odyssey Shop, a book and antiquities shop in NOLA. He and his friend and Barrington "Bear" Gunn, a private investigator and lover of all pulp stories, co-exist in the building under the watchful eye of Mama Effie, one of the many colourful characters in Jake's life. One day, Bear decides to take up the case involving a missing man . . . and never returns to the shop. It's up to Jake to discover his partner's whereabouts and avoid getting killed in the swamps of Louisiana! Golems, Goons, and Stone Cold Bitches, the second story, has Jake facing two sisters who would do anything to avoid the cold brush of Death as they race to obtain the Vitae Aeternam Sal! It's amazing what a little salt can do. The last story, Boo Daddies, Bogs, and A Dead Man's Booty thrusts Jake into a group of treasure hunters who are seeking the Cross of Trismegitus, an object that apparently holds a piece of the Vitae Aeternam Sal. However, all is NOT quiet on the NOLA front as Jake encounters vengeful spirits, giant rats, stinking boo daddies, sweet sweet love making, and Death, again (of which doesn't harm him - you'll have the read the book to find out why!) It's never a stroll in the park for Jake as he assumes the role of the Accidental Detective!
Nelson-Hicks shows she's got good chops when it comes to telling good pulp action stories; Jake Istenhegyi is a character that I hope she will do more with very soon. As I read the book, I instantly heard his "voice" - very Eastern European with a hint of weariness and determination. In fact, although Jake Istenhegyi is the "narrator" of the three stories, one can clearly hear each of the characters' rich voices - from the deep bellow of Bear, to the wheedling and simpering Radu, to the sultry and seductive Pearl, to the shifty and devious (yet with a small kind heart) Mama Effie, these stories do come to life. The action and gory scenes are quite a nice touch as well (the scene with Rosie, Joe, and Judd is one that I won't forget for a LONG time - that was just damn . . . damn!) It also helps to play music from the 20s and 30s while reading this book - I suggest Benny Goodman.
I had spoken with Nikki several months ago about creating a tea blend for this book; now that I've read The Accidental Detective, the tea blend can't wait to be made! Look for a post coming soon!