Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

GOSHEN HOLE by Wayne D. Dundee

Wayne Dundee’s new Joe Hannibal private eye novel, Goshen Hole, is a welcome return from an author who knows his way around tough guy detectives. To those who haven’t met Joe, he’s a knockaround blue collar guy who started out in Chicago, then migrated down to Nebraska where he’s currently stepped out of the PI biz to focus on his security agency. He’s been living a quiet life of semi-retirement that’s echoed the life of his creator.

But Dundee has taken up the trail once more, belting out Western stories this year as well as a new Joe Hannibal novel. Dundee already has another one in the works, so I’m looking forward to that one as well.

This one starts off in familiar terrain for those of us who have grown up with private eye fare. Hannibal gets asked to track down the missing ex-wife of an old friend, something that on the surface would be the work of a few hours or a couple days.

Hannibal hesitates at first. After all, he’s promised his lady love that he’s going to keep his nose clean and stay out of dark, dangerous places these days. However, like any ageing athlete that just doesn’t like sitting on the bench, Hannibal can’t help wanting to get back in the game. So, with the blessing of his lady friend Abby, he takes the case.

Dundee isn’t one to mess around getting a story started, then up and running. Likewise, it doesn’t take long for Hannibal to be eyeball deep in all kinds of trouble, and he’s not sure exactly of what he has hold of. One thing’s for certain, though, he’s not gonna let go of it till he’s good and ready.

I loved the blue collar aspect of the novel. Joe Hannibal is as tough as Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, but Hannibal is more like the guys I grew up with. He has the same tough guy code of honor, but his tastes run to blue jeans, boots, and beer. I understand those things, and it is easy to sink right into the world Dundee offers up in Goshen Hole.

Lord help me, I even totally got the Tadwalligers because I grew up with those guys too.

The plot, once everything is revealed, is straightforward and filled with plenty of action. William Thunderbringer, Hannibal’s ex-merc best friend, steps into the fray when things start turning bloody.

Dundee hits all the high points of a good private eye novel, fueling the mystery with testosterone and gunfire while dumping everything on his hero. Can’t wait till the next one.

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