Jim Knighthorse

Created by J.R. Rain

“Let the ass kicking begin…”
–from the blurb for Dark Horse

Thanks to Amazon and their KDP program, there are a slew of these self-published P.I. series out there, pumped out by writers whose ambition and enthusiasm for the genre are not always matched by their talent. Many of them are absolute dreck, slavish parodies spewed out in a rush for attention amid hundreds of suspicious five-star reviews. I mean, someone nobody’s ever heard of suddenly writes twelve books in a year and a half, and each one gets over a hundred five-star reviews on the first day of publication?

To his credit, author J.R. Rain didn’t go that route. Yeah, he’s self-published, and he’s certainly working Amazon, but he’s allowing apparently honest reviews to stand. Which means we get to see several one and two-star reviews knocking the books for their “excessive profanity and violence,” sloppy editing and continuity errors to balance the often vapid five-star jobs (“I have a crush on Jim Knighthorse!”).

Then again, whaddya expect for free?

His P.I. hero is JIM KNIGHTHORSE, a two-fisted Los Angeles dick clearly modeled (as usual) on Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. We know that because it’s mentioned endlessly by the author himself. Spenser I can see (sorta) but I wonder if the author has ever read Chandler.

Jim’s pretty much standard issue — a former college football star turned private eye, but there is a light spray of darkness to add a little grit because, well, it’s expected. The twist here is that Jim’s still haunted by his mother’s unsolved murder twenty years ago, and that serves as a convenient throughout the first three novels, tying them together.

Far more interesting, though, is Jim’s pal Jack. I actually liked their elliptical and sometimes surreal conversations. Jack, you see, claims to be God — and just might be. Sometimes a little originality can go a long way. But can it go far enough to wash out the taste of Jim himself, who seems to be particularly obnoxious?

Marlowe could be flippant, and Lord knows, Spenser didn’t mind taking the air out of a pompous client or two, but Jim just seems rude to people for the hell of it.

Your mileage may vary.


According to the official author’s web site, J.R. Rain is a former private investigator turned #1 BESTSELLING KINDLE AUTHOR who now writes (and writes and writes) in the Pacific Northwest. He lives in a small house on a small island with his small dog, Sadie, and is responsible for over sixty novels (so far), divided into half a dozen or so series, including one intriguingly called Vampire for Hire. That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.



  • “Easy Rider” (2017, Dark Rain: Stories) | Kindle it!
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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