Even Ernest himself would probably have fled Key West's Hemingway Days celebration - a week of raucous tourists and swaggering Papa pretenders that send locals into hiding. Thus the low profile assumed by Gideon Lowry, playing his weekly piano gig at a quiet hotel, fighting his daily urge for a drink. That's where Asia - just Asia, like Madonna - finds him. Beret-clad, with lips the color of a plum, she glides into Gideon's world on the breathless end of a classic tune. She's left her aerie at MTV to find her estranged husband, who's lost in the reverie surrounding his obsession: Hemingway. But Asia doesn't want him back, she wants a divorce - and is ready to pay handsomely for it.
As the Hemingway festival builds to its crescendo, mainland violence pays a nasty visit. There's an evil dancing behind the carefree facades of Duval Street, and it will take every sun-bitten ounce of Gideon's Conch resolve to reel it in...
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"Another mermaid singing .. but not for me."
"Another mermaid singing ... But not for me.""
Gideon Lowry, one time cop, now P.I., has lived all his life in Key West, apart from a short spell in the army. He's alone now, long time divorced, his sometime girlfriend, Casey, having left for Miami and he's given up the bottle since his brother's suicide a couple of years before. Despite a small inheritance, he is still supplementing his occasional income from detection work by playing piano 4 nights a week. Then one evening, into his bar comes Asia, slight, young, wearing a beret and red lipstick, who joins his piano rendering of Night and Day with her song....
This is a wonderful detective noire series, poignant, and atmospheric with carefully drawn characters real enough to step off the page. Told in the first person, the pace is slow, deliberate and packed with personality. Narrator David Wood becomes Gideon, his lugubrious, laid back style really capturing the atmosphere, and his voicings of all of the characters is individual, distinctive and just right. It is a very fine performance, a pleasure to hear. He makes this already really good book one which is great audio.
John Lesley's, Night and Day, is a totally stand alone novel but the second in the Gideon Lowery series. It totally transports the reader to the now Hemmingway dominated Key West area, a tourist attraction which once was a much sleepier place to live, where everyone knew each other and some, like Gideon, still ride around on bicycles with at least half a foot in the past. My thanks for the generosity of the rights holder, who freely gifted me a copy of this book, via Audiobook Boom. Long may this series continue. Highly recommended
- Norma Miles