Thursday, January 14, 2016

January re-read II: The Gorilla Returns

Well, I've now officially re-read the Gumshoe duology by Keith Hartman, and now find myself cursing that he never wrote another one in the series. He did write on other novel (Murder Beneath The Buried Sky, which if I can figure out where I put it last time I redid my bookshelf might be up next), but as of late, he seems to be in Hollywood self financing fun movies. (Seriously. Go find copies of You Should Meet My Son and Real Superheroes. I guess he's still trying to get Vampire Strippers Must Die funded beyond a short film.)

Gumshoe Gorilla picks up in April 2025, roughly 6 months after the events of The Gumshoe, The Witch, and the Virtual Corpse. This time, we start with Jen ("The Psychic"), who's doing her darndest to inflict a bit of karmic retribution on her previous beau, who it seems was dating two other women and using the same cheesy lines on as he did with her.

We do return to Drew ("The Gumshoe") in due time, who is dealing with Laughing Bear constantly dropping off Ice-In-Summer's former wardrobe at Drew's apartment. We also briefly meet Natalie ("The Number Cruncher") who's basically feeding information from both the Baptist Broadcasting Network and the Christian Alliance to Roaring Grizzly ("The Tele-shaman"). We do gets hints that the three of them may be colluding, but only one is aware of all the players in the scheme.

We also meet Skye ("The Writer"), plot coordinator for CzechMates, which is currently filming in Atlanta. As plot coordinator, her job consists of making sure all the deviating plotlines from any edit of the show makes sense. Skye hires Jen and Drew to investigate what her boyfriend is doing, since she's sure he's in trouble. Her boyfriend is Charles Rockland, one of the 3 Rockland brothers working on the show. (The other two being Doug and Bernie. Albert works alone and is in Thailand, Eddie is busy keeping the tabloids in business.)

The thrust of that plotline works out to finding out Charles is trying to help Eddie out of a really bizarre blackmail scheme, which brings Drew and Jen back to working with Linda ("The Woman in Black"), who was last seen working for Justin Weir.

There's also a case Drew is working to try to figure out what's wrong with Daniel, his much younger call boy friend, who is indeed now dating a man named Vincent as Drew saw in a vision last book. Drew's concerns stem from Daniel getting arrested for possession of Bliss (think MDMA), and then finding out the Bliss is laced with heroin. This leads to a vampire sex club, and further down the rabbit hole into the camps where unwanted gay youth were housed in the years following the genetic test. We also find out more of Drew's past, like how he got kicked out of his parents house during his sophomore year when his genetic test showed he was gay, and how he worked for one of the escort agencies to get by until he joined the police later on.

Ultimately, these mysteries get wrapped up (including one introduced early on about a woman convinced her daughter's new husband is hiding something) satisfactorily, but again, one is left wondering what happens to everyone after the lights go down and everyone takes off their masks.

This one is also less focused on big ideas, and more so on little ones like individuality and the prices of fame. During one of Drew's Shamanic voyages, a mockingbird recites poetry on the latter, before being eaten by the asphalt.

As I stated above, I caught a few things I haven't noticed in previous readings (something Laughing Bear says near the end seems to register with something Skye says elsewhere earlier), which makes me really wish there was another Gumshoe coming out sometime.

Don't let that stop you. The book is still a damned good read.