To Kill A Conman, Kevin Berry
I've gotten a bit out of wack, but I think TO KILL A CONMAN is the third in the Quake City Investigations series (following on from SHOOTING MESSENGERS and THE POSSUM FUR PLOT). Either way it didn't matter, having read the first this one just flowed on, with central character PI Danny Ashford and the Quake City world. There's a map at the start of the novel to give you a flavour for this fictional place.
Comic, noir, cartoonish and really very engaging, the Quake City Investigations novels are an unusual combination of styles, featuring the aforementioned Danny Ashford and his sidekick Investigative reporter Deepa Banwait. I say sidekick but the working relationship between these two is as "unstraightforward" as just about everything in this series.
In this case, Ashford is mightily pissed off when a scammer hacks his bank card, leaving him broke and more than a bit desperate. Whilst also stepping up to help out a neighbour being threatened by a decidedly sleezy boss. The hacker, meanwhile, a man with a scheme or scam always on the go, shows up dead leaving Ashford with a name and reputation clearing task as well.
Needless to say the style here is very unusual. Following on from the first book I read it's sort of noir, sort of psychological thriller, sort of Dick Tracey cartoonish, sort of crime fiction, very funny, bit energiser bunny in some places, big leapy in others, entertainment in the main. Very different, and very enjoyable. Now just need to find the time to plug the gap that is THE POSSUM FUR PLOT.
Everyone falls prey to the conman. One victim seeks revenge.
Stuart Baker makes a lot of dough from conning people. He always has a scheme or a scam on the go. His enemies outnumber his friends, but Baker doesn’t care about that. Crime pays too well.
His new girlfriend suspects his money is dirty. A business rival wants to take over his club. Baker’s latest victims want revenge.
Private investigator Danny Ashford is closing in on the scammer who hacked his bank card. But he also has another problem—his new neighbour asked him to have a word with her sleazy boss. Determined to help her out and give the man a scare, Danny’s about to discover that telling hardened criminals to lay off is not as easy as he thought it would be.
Broke and desperate, Danny doesn't think his life can get any worse. Then Baker is found murdered, and Danny becomes the main suspect.
With the help of sassy reporter Deepa Banwait, Danny must prove his innocence before the police lock him up and throw away the key…