Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Headache. Heartache. Neckache. Backache.

Those are the titles of the four novelettes in Cross Examinations, and are fair descriptions of the sort of trouble each case brings to Private Investigator Eliot Cross. Cross likes to think of himself as a hardboiled detective, and when circumstances demand it his tough side comes to the fore. But he's more than that. He's a guy with real emotions and a social conscience that sometimes gets in the way of his business.

The four stories in this book, which have an almost novel-like continuity, are a good blend of action, humor and pathos. In "Headache," an auto dealer is accused of setting a booby-trap that kills a would-be robber. It would be easy to excuse that, figuring anyone breaking into a business deserves what they get. But Cross finds this attitude disturbing, and his main motivation is to make sure other shop owners don't follow suit.

In "Headache," a State Sentor hires him to rescue her brother from a religious cult. It starts off as fun, with Cross passing himself off as a reporter named "Irwin Fletcher," but turns serious - in more ways than one - and forces Cross to examine where his real loyalties lie.

"Neckache" is a romp through the world of comic art, with hat tips to Milt Caniff, The Spirit, Captain America, Krazy Kat, Prince Valiant and Alley Oop, among others. It's a clear indication that the author has fine and varied taste in reading matter.

In "Backache," Cross finds himself embroiled in the theft of a rare edition of The Canturbury Tales. This one exposes more good taste, especially when Cross drops an inside joke for readers (or viewers) of The Big Sleep.

And to add an extra dimension, Cross's adventures take place in or near Columbus, Ohio in the ancient era of 1988. And we know that's true, because there are references to such icons of the time as Phil Collins, Mr. Natural and Magnum, P.I.

For an extemely limited time (I think today is the last day) Cross Examinations is free for the stealing over at Amazon. Snatch it now, before it's too late! That's HERE.


John Hegenberger said...

Absolute best review of any book ever! Thanks, Davey! You wrote this so well, even I want to go grab a copy and read it again!

Rick Robinson said...

So, four novellas? How many pages?

Evan Lewis said...

I call them novelettes because they're longer than most short stories. Amazon estimates a "print length" of 81 pages, but I don't know how they figure it. These are virtual pages, so you can have many or few. Or, if you read on your phone like me, you can have a ton.