Dana reviews Buck Baxter, Love Detective (The Buck Baxter Mysteries, Book 1) by Geoffrey Knight. (Published by Wilde City Publishing, September 3, 2014, 90 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
This week we are reviewing two short novels/novellas instead of one longer novel. I love a good mystery/PI story and also have an appreciation for stories set in historical periods. I found that we were given books one and two in the Buck Baxter Mysteries for review and knew that this would be perfect for me to read and review.
Blurb: Welcome to Wilde City, 1924—a crane on top of every skyscraper, a party in every club, a romance on every dance floor, a shooting every night, a broken heart on every street corner and a dirty secret behind every window with the curtain drawn. It’s the kinda town that keeps Buck Baxter, private detective, in business.
For despite his fondness for a cold gin and a pipe stuffed with cannabis, Buck is the best gumshoe in Wilde City. Why? Because he has rules: never make friends, never make enemies, and never ever fall in love. That is until the day playboy nightclub owner Holden Hart swings into town. He’s suave, he’s charming, he’s chivalrous… and he’s exactly the kinda man that Buck will break all the rules for.
From the romance of the Rainbow Palace atop the Wilde City Tower, to the dazzling debauchery of the gentlemen’s parlor The Velvet Viper—from the history surrounding the sinister convent on the hill better known Hell’s Bells, to the lantern-lit opium barge, The Peking Empress, run by the mystical Madame Chang—could Buck be about to unravel the greatest mystery of them all…
The mystery of love?
One thing about short stories/novellas is that there are less pages to fit in a well-developed story. In this case, I think the author did a great job. We get a good idea of what the setting is like. Wilde City in the 1920’s is full of revelry and a merriment that hides the darker dangers and crime behind the scenes. You know it’s a tough town when even the nuns are packing.
Buck was an orphan raised in Wilde City. Besides knowing that they ran the orphanage with an iron fist, there isn’t much more mentioned about Buck’s growing up. Except the boy that used to be Buck’s best friend but who disappeared many years before. It is left to the readers assumption that growing up without a real family, without love, might have made Buck the jaded detective he is in this story. As a man who loves other men, he hardly expects to get a happily ever after and I don’t think he believes there is such a thing.
Especially not with the cheating cases he gets hired to investigate. In this story, Buck is hired to see if a woman’s husband is cheating on her, and he suddenly finds himself in between two warring mob outfits, and in the arms of an enigmatic speakeasy owner. You can definitely feel the passion spark immediately between Holden and Buck, but Buck would prefer to keep Holden at arms length. Luckily for me, since I love romance, Holden isn’t the type to let go easy.
The story is fast-paced and the ending is surprising on many levels. The only thing that might be missing in this story is a lack of 1920’s slang, especially in a city that seems like it would use it frequently. I enjoyed the bit of romance as well as the suspense. I definitely want to see more of what Wilde City and the author have in store for Buck in the next story.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
From palace-hopping across the Rajasthan Desert to sleeping in train stations in Bulgaria, from spinning prayer-wheels in Kathmandu to exploring the skull-gated graveyards of the indigenous Balinese tribes, Geoffrey Knight has been a traveler ever since he could scrape together enough money to buy a plane ticket. Born in Melbourne but raised and educated in countless cities and towns across Australia, Geoffrey was a nomadic boy who grew into a nomadic gay writer. When he’s not travelling the world, Geoffrey is travelling the world of his imagination—where the adventures, thrills and romance are limitless.
He currently owns his own advertising and design agency which he runs from his island home on the Great Barrier Reef, and can’t wait to buy his next plane ticket—whether it’s real or imaginary.