Review - Harry's World, A.B. Patterson
An open homage to the noir stylings of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, with a decidedly Australian sense of humour, HARRY'S WORLD is the story of PI Harry Kenmare, told in a series of episodes.
For this reader some aspects of the humour in this book really worked, and others were less successful. If you're already struggling with the stereotypical female portrayals and the tacky sexual urges of Harry, by the time Club Mammary makes an appearance it could be possible, like this reader, that you start to notice a tendency to be somewhat distracted by external things.
Obviously HARRY'S WORLD is pitched as seedy, set in noir sensibilities, echoing a time when the rules were substantially different. Whilst in the main it hits that target reasonably well - at the same time, it engendered an oddly discomforted sense. For each of the laugh loud funny moments, and the signs of more within Harry, there are off-key notes. Whether it's him gleefully sleeping with the prostitutes who are subjects of a case he's working, despite the twist to that scenario. Whether it's the disconcerting use of club names, or the difficulty in working out who was the most hypocritical throughout, somehow this reader always felt slightly off-kilter and frequently disconnected.
Normally a huge fan of noir, it's distinctly possible that I missed something in the rendition. Maybe there isn't supposed to be much in the way of light in the dark corners. Maybe Harry's redeeming features are his sense of humour and his dogged determination to trawl the underbelly of Sydney. Maybe the facades he so dislikes are best smashed from somewhere within. Not sure, but either way I'd definitely concede that HARRY'S WORLD is a book for a completely different audience than this reader.
PI Harry Kenmare is a prehistoric private detective in an unfriendly modern world.
His life revolves around drinking, fine food, smoking, and fast women, preferably the ones he has to pay for, in cash. So what better CV for trawling through Sydney's corrupt social and political elites, who cravenly chase power and wealth behind veneers of respectability.
In this collection of seedy episodes, Harry is a dinosaur on a mission of justice, looking to shatter the hypocritical façades. And the rules don't always apply.
Join him in the jungle of 21st century Port Jackson, where little is as it seems, and none of it is pretty. Except, of course, those gorgeous by the hour girls.