Friday, November 4, 2011

Review of Greenwich Killing Time by Kinky Friedman (Faber, 1986)

Mike McGovern is in trouble. The occupant of the apartment opposite has been shot and the gun has been found in his apartment. McGovern calls Kinky Friedman, sometime detective and man about Greenwich Village, seeking his help. The dead man is Frank Worthington, a bisexual, who has a string of relationships. Friedman calls on his friends, rounds up Worthington's dates, and starts to try and work out who killed him and framed McGovern. The cops assigned to the case don't like Friedman, he's soon receiving threats, another person is killed, and all the evidence suggests that McGovern is the perpetrator. Kinky needs to draw on all his skills and wits to bring the killer to justice.

The real strength of Friedman's writing is his wit, wry observations, and philosophical asides. Somewhat unusually the main character is Kinky Friedman himself and the preface indicates that most of the characters in the book are real people with their real names. The story is fairly standard PI fare in the mode of Dashiell Hammett and his thousand imitators (and there's nothing wrong with that), but with a nice dash of humour. The story is tightly plotted and rattles along at a fair pace with some nice twists and turns. There's a fairly significant tell quite near the start, so I knew who the killer was from a long way out, but that didn't really matter. Overall, a reasonably light-hearted hardboiled tale with a strong voice. I'll be looking out for his other books.


Kent Morgan said...

Without digging into my collecction, I seem to remember that this one came early in th series. I loved the first few books, but finally gave up when it got to the point that the books had no plot. Have you listened to his music?

Rob Kitchin said...

Kent, this is the first book in the series. I'm not familiar with his music, other than watching a couple of youtube videos. I've been given one of his other books from further on the series, so it'll be interesting to see if the plotting holds up.