Oh, Marlowe played chess alone, Spade slept with his partner’s wife and Hammer called his death-spitting roscoe Betsy or something.
But that was pretty much it.
But retired private dick FRANK RAVEN more than makes up for it in his one appearance to date, the deliberately offbeat The Nutting Girl (2017).
Besides a past that includes stints as a monk (blind) and a drunk (also blind), he currently runs a creaky old movie theater in sleepy Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, dances and sings with a local troupe of Morris Dancers, records bird calls on his phone and runs a small movie studio. He’s also something of an armchair philosopher, and perhaps a little too fond of dropping quotes from classic literature and sixties rock’n’roll into whatever conversation he’s having. But—retired or not—he’s still a whiz at finding people.
Which comes in handy when a young Spielberg-like director, Nick Mooney, comes to town to make a film and urges Frank to track down his wild-child star, twenty-one-year-old Juliana Velvet Norcross aka “VelCro”), a young woman who’s not quite the vapid bimbo everybody assumes she is. Unfortunately, bimbo or not, she’s swept away on the very first day of shooting. By a flood, of all things, when the local Deerfield River overflows its banks.
Did she drown? Did she fall? Did she jump? Was she pushed? The trail meanders this way and that, with plenty of philosophical pit stops along the way, with the meditative gumshoe eventually following the bread crumbs all the way to New Orleans and back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fred DeVecca has bounced around almost as much as Frank Raven. He’s gota BA in English Lit from Wilkes University, attended film school in Rockport, Maine, and has worked as a screenwriter, photographer, and freelance writer, mostly in the sports and arts and entertainment fields. He’s also been a member of the Marlboro Morris Men, and has managed Pothole Pictures, a non-profit, community-run movie theater. Oh, and Fred lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. Coincidence? I think not.
STRAIGHT FROM THE AUTHOR’S MOUTH
- “… what In was trying to do was to write a PI novel with all the familiar tropes but still make it read fresh.”
— Fred DeVecca
- “Intriguing [….] Readers will enjoy the wild ride, but they should be prepared for unconvincing coincidences and a host of plot contrivances.”
— Publishers Weekly
- “If you’d asked me whether it was possible to come up with a new take on the private eye novel at this late date, I might have said probably not. But I would have been wrong because that’s exactly what Fred DeVecca has done with The Nutting Girl. With its offbeat protagonist, vividly rendered settings, and lyrical prose, The Nutting Girl is one of the best debut private eye novels to come along in a long time, and I’m eager to read whatever Fred DeVecca comes up with next.”
— James Reasoner
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.