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Down to No Good


Down to No Good

DOWN TO NO GOOD was not originally on my list to read or review, but rather it was nudged into my attention by its intriguing premise. It combines elements of mystery and the supernatural, with a gritty streetwise worldview involving people who, for the most part, you would not want to know but would very much want to watch.

The narrative alternates between the first-person present viewpoint of Charlie Miner and Dave Putnam, friends by choice and partners by circumstance. Charlie is the more prominent and interesting of the two, mostly for the wrong reasons. He is a reluctant yet eager drug addict (those who ride the wild horses of addictions in all of their forms need no further explanation). He and his bitter, angry ex-wife have somehow managed to raise what at this point is a reasonable, wise and pleasant teenage daughter named Mindy, who lives with Charlie because she hates her mother. Mindy is the one and probably only bright spot in Charlie’s life.

"It combines elements of mystery and the supernatural, with a gritty streetwise worldview involving people who, for the most part, you would not want to know but would very much want to watch."

Oh, one other thing: Charlie is capable of resurrection, as in “from the dead.” This concept was introduced in DOWN SOLO, the first Charlie Miner book, and is built upon in the second, though by no means explained. It is probably due to a number of factors, from the multiple combinations of pharmaceutical cocktails that Charlie ingests on a daily basis to a rehabilitation clinic where he failed miserably to get with the program. However, he did meet a gentleman named Daniel, a somewhat slippery yet very well-meaning chameleon-like character who wanders into and out of his life while providing him with enigmatic explanations of what is happening with him, including that astral projection thing that he does on occasion. That latter ability comes in handy, especially when Charlie is called upon to help Dave in an investigation.

Dave is an LAPD homicide detective for whom alcohol is the sweetest mother’s milk, and he demonstrates no particular desire to be weaned from it anytime soon. Charlie and Dave do much more than prop each other up. Dave has carried Charlie’s corpse out of the line of fire a time or two so that he might live again, and, as is demonstrated in DOWN TO NO GOOD, Charlie’s astral projection can help Dave solve crimes. He is currently investigating a connection between two homicides that are seemingly linked by the helpful, if questionable, assistance of a psychic named Tamara Gale.

There is some question as to whether or not Tamara is the real deal, though she certainly seems to be so when she successfully predicts a mass poisoning incident at a high school. But something doesn’t ring quite right --- from Tamara’s movie-star handsome husband to her extremely unconventional daughter (who eventually gets around to having a steamy relationship with Charlie) and all the way back to Tamara herself. The question that is asked --- and answered --- in very dramatic fashion is if Tamara has true powers or if she’s just trying to sell books. If the latter is true, then how far will she go to do so?

DOWN TO NO GOOD reads more like short fiction than a full-length novel and leaves the reader wanting more. It struck me while reading the book that the characters and subject matter would be well served by being presented as a (very adult) graphic novel or an ongoing Netflix series. Still, that is not to disparage this work in its present form, which will tear your head off and make you like it.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on November 10, 2017

Down to No Good
by Earl Javorsky

  • Publication Date: November 7, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Story Plant
  • ISBN-10: 1611882532
  • ISBN-13: 9781611882537