J. M. T. MILLER – Weatherby. Ballantine, paperback original; 1st printing, September 1987.

   Artie Weatherby, to be precise. This one’s the first of three recorded adventures, but it’s not quite clear where it takes place. Somewhere in the Southwest is the best I can say. Somewhere in a fairly large city (but with streets I’ve never heard of), but somewhere such that not far out of the city you can find yourself in a desolate “sun-baked, sun-bleached, sun-drenched” misery of a town called Desolado.

   Artie is hired by a young woman to find out where her brother is, and where he is is in Desolado, riding a Harley with a big-bosomed bimbo named Bunny hanging onto him from behind. A local storekeeper suggests that he’s riding with a gang of bikers called the Satan’s Sadists, who may also be heavily involved with heavy drugs across the border activity.

   Not hardly good news. Other characters in this story are the siblings’ father, who is rich, maintains a zoo in his back yard, and who thinks he’s turning into a werewolf. The girl’s fiancé is a well-known plastic surgeon who has been in trouble with various medical boards.

   Not your usual functional family, but nothing seems to faze Weatherby all that much. Not that there’s much to the story. I had it all figured out by page 144, then I skipped to the end of the book to find out if I was correct. I was. I hate it when that happens.

   About Weatherby himself, I seem not to have much to say. Totally generic, in other words, in a semi-macho sort of way. But in passing, I did learn not to trust the judgment of James Ellroy when it comes to touting PI fiction to unwary readers. The blurb on the front cover makes me think he was reading another book altogether.

       The Artie Weatherby series —

Weatherby. Ballantine, 1987.
On a Dead Man’s Chest. Ballantine, 1989.
The Big Lie. Nelson, 1994.

   The author, Janice Marie Tubbs Miller, wrote one other crime novel under these initials and two as Janice Miller.