By Katy Munger
“I never smoke after sex, though I have been known to purr.”
— the first line of Money to Burn
“Tired of female P.I.s who simper around and do dumb things and spend half their time bitching about bad relationships? Then read Legwork from Avon Books and meet CASEY JONES…”
That little tidbit of BSP on rec.arts.mystery from years ago, back when the internet was young, caught my eye. Mostly because I’d already fallen under the spell of the author’s snark-drenched posts on various newsgroups and discussion lists. This Katy Munger chick sounded like a hoot. And at the time Casey’s debut, Legwork (1997), had just been nominated for a Shamus for Best First P.I. Novel.
I decided to investigate.
It turns out Legwork was the real deal. That Casey, she’s got a real mouth on her, and she’s one big, bad bottled blonde more than willing to get into someone’s face.
Okay, officially, she’s not even a P.I. . Seems that in North Carolina, a prison record precludes a private investigator’s license (seems there was a drug smuggling conviction somewhere in Casey’s past). But hey, since her “official” boss Bobby D. (picture Jabba the Hutt with a southern drawl) rarely gets off his butt, Casey’s the one who does all the legwork.
When she’s not pursuing other interests, that is.
And hot damn! The woman likes sex. She’s one big juicy, rip-snortin’ woman who’s not afraid of making whoopie.
Talking about it. Thinking about it. Doing it. No trainee nun here, she’s the female equivalent of Shell Scott, updated for the nineties, leaving no pun unturned, not wasting her time on double entendres when a single entendre will do. It’s a much-needed change from all these dry, juiceless, slim little sleuths that seem to have popped up all over, wringing their chaste little hands over the lack of potential soul mates, sipping white wine and jogging up and down the beaches of California. Casey’s dialogue is a blast, saltier than Lot’s wife, and a lot more fun; bringing a refreshing, Mae West-like frankness to the P.I. party.
And under the pen name of Gallagher Gray, Katy writes about amateur sleuths Theodore S. Hubbert, a sixtyish retired personnel manager, and Aunitie Lil, a former dress designer, well in her eighties. I take it these two are a little more genteel than Casey…
- “I appreciate a man with principles… but that doesn’t mean I go so far as to trust a guy just because he makes my cooter twitch.”
— Casey vows not to let herself be led around by her gonads.
- “…Casey Jones is a tough, lusty, bad-ass woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Casey could kick Stephanie Plum’s ass from here to hell and back. Money to Burn throws Casey into a mystery that pits her against Southern Old Money. The result is a well-plotted, engrossing mystery with a ton of heart.”
— J.D. Rhoades, as part of The Rap Sheet’s One Book Project.
- “I checked some of your other entries for women PIs; I liked some (Juniper Song, can agree with Sharon McCone). I also found this quote from your entry on Casey Jones:
“It’s a much-needed change from all these dry, juiceless, slim little sleuths that seem to have popped up all over, wringing their chaste little hands over the lack of potential soul mates, sipping white wine and jogging up and down the beaches of California.”
So, well… at least you’re not referring to Kinsey Millhone or Delilah West there.”
- Legwork (1997) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Out of Time (1998) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Money to Burn (1999) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Bad to the Bone (2000) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Better Off Dead (2001) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Bad Moon on the Rise (2009) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Fire and Rain (2019) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Whistlin’ Dixie