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13 January 2014

Russell Blake: BLACK Is Back (BLACK #2)

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Another amusing dose of BLACK
Artemus Black is a private detective (call him Black, only his mother would be brave enough to call him Artemus) who gets into some amusing scrapes. His business is hardly surviving, he has the receptionist from hell (who he couldn't do without), he's in poor shape, smokes, has appalling fashion sense and really doesn't understand women. Apart from that he is a pretty good PI with a heart of gold, which is one reason why he is unsuccessful.

Black's favourite form of transportation is a 1973 Cadillac Eldorado, but his last one was blown up in a previous case, along with the mechanic who was the only one who could keep it on the road. Fortunately the insurance just allowed him to buy a replacement but he is desperate to find a well heeled client. Out of the blue he is hired by a top Rap star - "B-Side" - to find out who is trying to kill him. There have been 2 attempts on the star's life so far, a microphone that was hot wired and a poisoning (fortunately the food was eaten by a young female groupie who became very sick).

The only thing on the plus side is that for once Black is getting well paid. He soon gets immersed in the murky world of pop music, and its managers and promoters as well as a host of rap singers most with street gang backgrounds. The problem gets worse when a dispute emerges over whether B-Side stole his rap songs from his dead cousin Blunt. Black blunders through the maze of the pop world to try and solve the problem and protect his rich street-wise client.

While Black is a great new character his receptionist Roxie is not far behind. Wearing her typical ensemble of full black with her full sleeve tattoos on display and neon-red died hair she is a perfect front for Black's rundown office. This time her main priority is not looking after Black but finding Mugsy, an overweight and destructive stray cat who Black despises, who has disappeared.

Once again Russell Blake shows his talent for comedy with this amusing tale of a small-time detective working among the lowlife of LA. I didn't connect with the story as well as Black 1# because at lot of things went over my head because I don't live in the US and know nothing of the pop scene. I did worry about Mugsy a bit, but in doing so I got a bit distracted from the action.

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