RICK BOYER – Pirate Trade. Doc Adams #8. Ivy, paperback original, 1995.

   I’ve been wondering what happened to Boyer; this is the first from him since 1991’s Yellow Bird, and he’s obviously lost his hardback contract. Yet another HWMA (Hardboiled White Male Author) takes a shoot to the crotch. Oh well, he’s still being published, which is more than Benjamin Schutz can say.

   Doc buys his wife Mary a purse decorated with real ivory from a sore on Nantucket, but he soon wishes he hadn’t. The ivory turns out to be illegal — illegal ivory is Big Criminal Business — and Mary is enlisted by the Feds to help with a sting operation. Doc doesn’t like this even a little bit, but Mary wants to do Something On Her Own.

   Due as much to his interference as anything else, both of them end up facing some real real danger, and Doc’s mercenary friend, Rozantis, is pressed into service.

   These are basically crime/adventure books, and my taste for such seems to be waning lately. On top of that, I think this is the least of the eight Adams’s, with a plot that seemed disjointed and narration more than a bit episodic. The characterization of Adams and his supporting cast has been fairly strong over the length of the series, but there was nothing here to add to it.

   All in all, it was a reasonably quick and pleasant read — but nothing that would send you running to Half-Price to find the earlier books. Boyer and Adams may have hit the wall with this.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #18, February-March 1995.

       The Doc Adams series —

Billingsgate Shoal (1982)
The Penny Ferry (1984)
The Daisy Ducks (1986)
Moscow Metal (1987)
The Whale’s Footprints (1988)
Gone to Earth (1990)
Yellow Bird (1991)
Pirate Trade (1994)
The Man Who Whispered (1998)