Artemus Black. Perennially down-on-his-luck Hollywood PI whose Bogie fixation is as dated as his wardrobe. With an assistant who mocks him relentlessly, an obese cat that loathes him, a romantic life that's deader than Elvis, money problems, booze, nicotine, and anger management issues, how much worse can it get? When he takes a case that's supposed to be easy money working for a celebrity whose colleagues and surrounding paparazzi are dropping faster than interest in the star's big comeback, the cakewalk turns ugly and Black finds himself in a web of deceit, betrayal, and murder - and bad hair days. The first in a new series from best-selling author Russell Blake, Black is a detective mystery with a difference that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.
©2013 Russell Blake (P)2014 Russell Blake
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"Fun, Ironic Noir"
Clever, fast banter, reminds me of Cary Grant in His Girl Friday. And very much Luke that movie, the characters and their relationships overshadow the story.
It's a good mystery but the novel, like its title is really about its hero. Black is Artemis Black, a thirtyish ex rocker turned PI. He has a sardonic, goth rock, young assistant running his office, and its her and her obese cat Mugsy that keeps Black grounded.
There are laughs at every turn, all at Black's expense. I liked it. Frankly I can use the lift.
"Great narration of good novel"
The story is interesting mostly because of wise cracking by Black and his office manager Roxy. The narration by RC Bray is incredibly good. This private investigator series has real potential so I'll listen to at least one more novel.
"Excellent 21st Century Noir"
Fedoras, Dames, and Everything! A book for Goldilocks. Not too heavy, not too light. The bantered dialogue was intelligent and didn't try to hard and was carried off beautifully by narrator R.C. Bray.
In fact, Bray did a terrific job with all his characters, ranging from heavies to heroes to hippies to ... okay, I don't know a good 'H' word for little old ladies.
This is a great start to a new series. I'm so glad it came my way.
"Roxy is a must have for the entire series"
I love the dialogue between Roxy and Black.. without her this may have been a 3 star listen for me. The only reason I sought this one out is because of the narrator and like always he did an excellent job.
"Mike Hammer of The New Millenium"
Sure. The genre of a street-savvy hand-to-mouth LA P.I. amid the seedy under belly of Sunset Strip is a familiar one. No new ground broken there. .... Where Blake's "Black" scores so high is the non-stop snappy repartee between Black and pretty much all the sideshow carney-esque characters he encounters. .... going immediately to Book Two and Beyond.
"Absolutely perfect, sharp and witty"
Black is an incredible listen, and is voiced perfectly by the talented RC Bray. The dialogue is sharp, the plot moves swiftly and unpredictably, and the jokes are timed perfectly. This is an excellent story and I look forward to listening to the rest of the Black series.
"A nice suspense novel - with a nice twist"
The characters were interesting and realistic. Loved loved the extreme difference in how his secretary viewed his wardrobe and how he did.
Black - because he appeared to almost be a different person when with the each of the other characters. Tolerant with his secretary. Irritated with his therapist. Professional and bossy with his client...etc.
The voice changes
I laughed and told Black out loud what NOT to do.
I loved it... but I only give 5 stars to books I would re-read or listen to twice, those are extremely rare. So from me this gets just about the very best rating.
I really liked that Black was 'human'. He had everyday struggles both in his professional and personal life. I enjoyed his relationship with Roxie and hope that this continues in future books.
I really like how the author was consistent with Black's character. The mystery was interesting and I really didn't see the answer until it was told to me. I like that in a mystery.
This is the 3rd book by Mr. Bray that I have listened to. He is a very relaxed reader who can draw you into the story. I think that he adds to the authors words with his performance.
While the book was rather long (not a problem by the way), I don't think I could have listened to it in one sitting. The chapters were placed in good breaks in the story and it was easy to get back into the book when I came back to it.
"Witty dialog makes this worth a listen"
A private investigator, Artemus Black, lives in Hollywood where he works for the rich and famous. He has had little success in life, including his relationships, professions, and finances. Black lives a satire of a noir detective movie, even dressing the part. He takes on a case to help a has-been actor turned director, which promises a much needed financial boost, but brings betrayal and murder.
In this book, Russell Blake shows he is a master of dialog and fun characters. Black's assistant, Roxy, banters with him at a level equivalent to Grant and Russell in "His Girl Friday" In fact, Black engages in witty dialog with most characters, which is the element that makes this book worth the time to hear.
Overall, the plot is not particularly intriguing, but Blake's solid writing skills, character building, and balanced humor make this book fun - entertaining. I'm getting the next one in the series.
"monotonous and boring"
It is a monotonous narration of a monotonous attempt at a cinematic noir. Might be better in paper form, not sure. An obvious attempt to create a ready movie script (with all the moves and jests and even eye movements described to a smallest detail - as a result, a rather boring book happened.
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