A Case of Love and Squalor.

Author:Allen, Jill
Position:Book review

Steve Myers; A CASE OF LOVE AND SQUALOR; Pen-L Publishing (Fiction: Mystery) 14.97 ISBN: 9781940222585

Byline: Jill Allen

These two protagonists grow out of their tropes to become well-rounded, philosophical characters with big personalities.

A Case of Love and Squalor, by Steve Myers, his third novel and an engrossing, fast-paced thriller, mixes action with metaphysics for an entertaining roller coaster of a read.

As with Salinger's short story "For EsmA[c], with Love and Squalor," the middle-aged male protagonist, Joe Andrews, finds himself attracted to a much younger Esme who is in a sordid situation. The similarities between the short story and the novel end here, however. Joe is a skirt-chasing, wise-cracking snoop in the tradition typical of hard-boiled detectives, and Esme, whom he has been hired to find, is the granddaughter of his benefactor. While best suited for those who like their private eyes macho and their women sexy, Joe and Esme manage to transcend these tropes even as they are made from them.

Esme, Diana, and Jasmina prove that their sexiness is only skin deep by having complicated, troubled backstories. In other words, their seemingly typical femme fatale traits stem from previous...

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