Review: Monterey Noir (The Barker Mysteries) ~ Patrick Whitehurst

Monterey NoirNot every hero lives in a mansion or works from a smoky, hard-boiled office. Enter Barker, a mysterious man with no memory of his past. Ferociously handsome and acutely observant, Barker makes his home under the soggy planks of Old Fisherman’s Wharf along California’s foggy Central Coast. His closest friends are an assortment of stray dogs, ranging from a large Rottweiler to a tiny Shih-Tzu, who live with him. Adventure and intrigue have an uncanny knack for crossing Barker’s path.

In the first entry of the series; Nickel, Barker’s sole human friend, bestows his makeshift home upon the man and his dogs just before dropping dead. It’s up to Barker to honor Nickel’s last wish, to atone for his sins, which doesn’t prove an easy task. Meanwhile, forces are at work in other parts of the fog-swept city, which will lead the homeless detective and his dogs to a deadly confrontation in the heart of Monterey Bay itself.

Part of the ‘A Book from every State of the Union’ Reading Challenge – California.

4 Thumbs-UpReading this book was a first for me from this Author, as I had neither heard of them nor read anything they had previously penned.  It was not a disappointment.

The main protagonist could be described as hard-nosed, but underneath all the strength and intelligence he exudes there lies a hint of a troubled past; one that the Author takes great pains not to reveal in this novel.  As this is the first in a series of books featuring this character, I am hoping that as they progress the reader will learn more of what haunts the main character.  Despite this feeling of there being something missing in this characters development and the reasoning behind my four thumbs review, the Author manages to create a personae in them that lets the reader know they can come so far into his world, and no further.  This main character is a standalone novel in himself, there needs to be no more explanation than that, and the reader constantly feels that this is a man who is content in his own skin and with the select company he keeps.

If the hidden strata of humanity makes you feel uncomfortable, so it should, and this book will make you feel uneasy as it focuses on those many of us chose to pretend don’t exist; the homeless and disenfranchised that live among us.  This section of society is used to great effect in this novel, which could be ranked up there with the likes of Wilkie Collins in its ability to keep the reader guessing until the final page.

I would recommend this novel to those readers who enjoy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mysteries and to those wanting to read a detective novel with a different view on life.  I will definitely be reading more by this Author.

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