Created by J.D. Allen
Not since Sam Spade introduced himself in the Hammett short story “They Can Only Hang You Once” by declaring “My name is Ronald Ames” has a private eye series spun my brain around so quickly as the opening of 19 Souls (2018), which kicks off with what seems like a pretty standard babe-client-meets-gumshoe scenario — until you realize both the client and the Las Vegas P.I. JIM BEAN are lying.
Unfortunately, after that the plot soon devolves into a solid but typically overwrought serial killer yarn, with sad sack Jim belatedly realizing he’s been duped, but plugging methodically on, with much of the story following the killer whose often contradictory quirks and obsessions aren’t nearly as fascinating as they could be.
Too bad. Jim seems like a potentially affable kinda guy, and the author definitely shows promise. The sequel, Skin Game (2019), has the eternally morose gumshoe revealing more of — and dealing partially with — his troubled past and fall from grace.
This guy should definitely lighten up — he’s becoming the Eeyore of private eyes. But without the charm.
- With 19 Souls, J. D. Allen grabs the gritty PI genre by the balls and delivers a solid punch to the reader’s solar plexus.
— Kristopher, BoloBooks