Once A Man Indulges by Tony Kelsey was my Sunday Read/Thursday Review pick last week. I have never read a Neo-Noir novel nor anything by Tony Kelsey but he is very nice on Twitter, and his book looked interesting because I am a fan of old movies, radio dramas, and Mike Hammer.
Kelsey drops you into the gritty noir world with finesse. It’s set in Denver and the falling snow, overcoats and hats, matchbooks, jazz clubs, old Dodge cars; you feel like you are walking the slushy streets in the late 1940’s with an ex-fighter pilot and his demons.
The mystery surrounds a kidnapped child. To reveal much more than that would give away the ending so I'll just say the mystery is a riff off the Lindberg Baby Kidnapping. The case is really a more peripheral thing while Thorpe struggles along with a personal life of issues and
tries to solve the case despite a client that continually gets in the way.
This book is an engaging read, you get drawn into the world of 1949 Denver and you really don’t want to put it down. I love the dialogue, especially between Thorpe and the femme fatale: think Bogart and Bacall.
One warning about this novel: Chapter 17. I hesitate to say this, but it truly bothered me; enough that I almost put the book down and walked away. All I’ll say is if you are a pet owner, especially a dog owner, be aware that a very horrific and violent act against dogs is in Chapter 17. Once I realized what was going to happen, I tried to skip the chapter, but I was afraid there might have been something I needed to know hidden amongst the vile actions; there isn’t. Just skip it.
On the whole, I enjoyed Once A Man Indulges. It's a story that grabs you, pulls you back to 1949, and doesn't let go even after the final page. If you love old movies, noir or just the WWII era, you’ll feel right at home with Harry Thorpe and I'm hoping for a second case.