Thu 31 Dec 2009
LES ROBERTS - An Infinite Number of Monkeys. St. Martin’s Press, hardcover, 1987. Paperback reprint: St. Martin’s, 1988.
This is the novel that won Roberts the award in St. Martin’s “First Private Eye Novel Contest” back in 1986, and by and large, it’s a good one.
The leading character is a part-time actor named Saxon, who is also a full-time PI, which is more than OK as a gimmick, because Hollywood is always in need of another private eye. Lots of good stories in them there hills.
His client in this particular adventure is pulp-paperback writer Buck Weldon, a throwback to the Mickey Spillane’s earliest days, and somebody is trying to kill him. Keeping Saxon’s interest at its highest peak is Weldon’s beautiful daughter Tori. (For some reason, I pictured a youthful Raquel Welch in the role, which you have to admit, makes for a very nice picture.)
I have to admit the ending surprised me a little, and it shouldn’t have, which is the sign of a perfect detective story, or very nearly so. Saxon needs to have some of his cruder edges sandpapered away, though. As a ladies’ man, he’s too obvious, and besides that, he talks too much. Be subtle, man!
Bibliographic Data: Monkeys was Les Roberts’ first book, and there were six in all that Saxon appeared in (see below). Roberts has written another 14 books about Cleveland-based PI Milan Jacovich, so far, the most recent of which being King of the Holly Hop (2008). One stand-alone novel (The Chinese Fire Drill, 2001) plus one short story collection (The Scent of Spiced Oranges, 2002) complete his resume to date.
The “Saxon” series:
1. An Infinite Number Of Monkeys (1987)
2. Not Enough Horses (1988)
3. A Carrot For The Donkey (1989)
4. Snake Oil (1990)
5. Seeing The Elephant (1992)
6. The Lemon Chicken Jones (1994)