One of the helpful things about the way in which modern authors have
experimented with the private
eye genre is that their various innovations and deconstructions have
only served to demonstrate how
nearly perfect is the original form. In the end, we keep coming
back, and I hope always will, to the
lone wolf tough guy--no girlfriend, no wife, no boyfriend, no hulking
and conveniently amoral
sidekick to do the dirty work, no supernatural cases, no gimmicks of
Within the select group that is still writing these throwback series,
there are a few who really stand
out. Loren D. Estleman (author of the Amos Walker series) is
pretty much in a league of his own.
Then, in the next tier, you've got Jonathan Valin (Harry Stoner), Peter
Corris (Cliff Hardy), and a
couple more, including Jerry Kennealy and his hero, Nick Polo.
In Polo Anyone ?, the second entry in the series, ex-cop, ex-jailbird,
San Francisco private eye, Nick
Polo, is hired to expose a suspected card sharp in a local businessmen's
regular poker game. This
proves fairly easy, but he soon finds himself embroiled in a case of
industrial espionage, featuring
hostile cops, a seedy fellow private eye, a femme fatale or two, and
a rapidly mounting body count.
It's all entirely conventional, and I mean that in the very best sense
of the word.