It’s taken me a while to get round to this one, which was first published about four years ago. But it was inevitable that I would read it sooner or later – there’s something irresistible about a Raymond Chandler style private detective thriller with a very heavy dose of black humour, set in a warped version of 1980s Aberystwyth.
Louie Knight is a traditional down-at-heel private eye of the kind we’ve seen in far too many film noir classics. His town is run by the Druids, who have abandoned the robes in favour of sharp suits, and don’t seem that interested in poetry any more.
Myfanwy Moore, a traditionally no better than she should be nightclub singer asks Louie to investigate the disappearance of her young cousin, Evans the Boot. In the usual way, Louie is reluctant to get involved – Evans was involved with some rather unpleasant people, and Louie would rather not find himself going missing.
This has all the usual ingredients, with some slightly unusual variations. Louie’s confidant is an ice-cream seller rather than the usual barkeeper, but the principle is the same. There’s a convoluted conspiracy, with its roots in a war that most people would rather forget, and Louie reluctantly acquires a sidekick.
It’s not perfect – the big pay-off is the identity of the mysterious Gwenno Guevara, which is ever-so-slightly obvious, but apart from that, this is a lot of fun. Some nice weirdness, gratuitous violence, frame-ups, and much much more.
If you like your fiction with an added dose of silliness, you might just enjoy this. Being Welsh isn’t essential, but it probably helps
There are a couple of sequels out, and I’ll be getting hold of them soon – watch out for the reviews!
 Aberystwyth is a seaside town, you know
 And regular readers will have gathered that I do