To Be Signed
June 2021 Hardboiled & Noir Crime Club Pick
Tom Wickersham's Staff Recommendation:
"A Man Named Doll is quite simply the best private eye novel I've read in years---and I read plenty of them. Its titular detective, Doll, doesn't seem like much of a hero. Armed primarily with an abundance of marijuana and the companionship of his trusty dog, Doll spends his nights working security at a sleazy massage parlor, and he attends Freudian psychoanalysis during the day. But when an old friend turns up bleeding to death on Doll's doorstep, Doll finds himself sucked into a chaos of conspiracies and a growing number of dead bodies. Jonathan Ames nails the noir voice without ever sliding into parody. The novel is smart, funny, and quirky without losing credibility. And once Doll gets closer to the truth the book takes turns that are downright terrifying. A Man Named Doll is a true rarity: a book that delivers on all of its promises, and then explodes beyond the reader's wildest expectations."
From the creator of HBO's Bored to Death, a deliciously noir novel about an idiosyncratic private detective Happy Doll and his quest to help a dying friend who is running out of time in sun-blinded Los Angeles.
Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert, private detective living just one sheer cliff drop beneath the Hollywood sign with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George. A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll supplements his meager income as a P.I. by working through the night at a local Thai spa that offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescopic baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex, the ex-cop sets out to protect the women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word "no."
Doll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth, and then things take an even more dangerous twist when an old friend from his days as a cop shows up at his door with a bullet in his gut.
A Man Named Doll is more than just a fascinating introduction to one truly singular character, it is a highly addictive and completely unpredictable joyride through the sensuous and violent streets of LA.