Verdict: St. Louis Hustle is fun read in the suspense genre, with the potential for Applewhite’s characters to compete with the legendary noir detectives of yore.
In St. Louis Hustle, the second book in Claire Applewhite’s ‘Nam noir series, Elvin Suggs, Cobra Glynes and Diamond “Di” Redding are hired to shadow a philandering husband and the plot quickly turns deadly as the investigation intensifies.
Suggs and Glynes may lack the hard-boiled cynicism of a Sam Spade but, in fact, they are two tough dudes. After all, they survived Vietnam. So did their female partner, Redding, who relies on her intuition in a Warshawski/Nora Charles kind of way.
The three partners are hired via their fledgling business, Grapevine Investigations, by attractive wronged wife Emily Davies who convinces Suggs and Glynes that she has nothing to hide as she tells her tale of woe. Di suspects otherwise, resulting in a duplication of efforts as the team follows both husband and wife to and from the seedy rendezvous spot of choice-The Coral Court Motel.
Turns out Di is right. There is more to Emily’s story, including her relationship with Dr. Leon Morgan. Secrets come to light and corpses pile up with the introduction of a slew of minor characters-Angel Cleary, the other woman; motel maid Rosa; babysitter Florence Podowsky; and her friend, Maybelle Spinks. Police detective Reggie Combs and vamp Valerie Gains, Cobra’s girlfriend, round out the ensemble along with motel clerk Waldo and sleazy motel owner Otto Penzel.
The plot thickens as the sleuths do their thing. The trouble is the plot gets a little too thick. Keeping track of the whereabouts of the various characters requires a great deal of page-turning, backwards, to unravel their whereabouts and recall what they did. Six members of the cast end up dead by the novel’s end, while the Grapevine Investigators shuttle around St. Louis, where the story is set.
St. Louis Hustle is fun read in the suspense genre, with the potential for Applewhite’s characters to compete with the legendary noir detectives of yore.
Reviewed by Eveline Speedie for IndieReader
Purchase St. Louis Hustle (Nam Noir) from Amazon