Good But Not Great
3 out of 5 stars
Any book that starts out with a warning about the time it was originally written giving you a warning about the content within it is going to be a doozy. Thankfully, that warning helped me enjoy the book more. It also explained that this was a much older book that was just being released on audio (which I wouldn’t have known going into it due to the great new cover art).
The Golden Girl and All is, what I believe to be the third book in the Hardman series and I could tell a little bit that I was being thrown into an already built up character. The era that this book was written is similar to the Fletch books and there were some themes that carried over from the Fletch series but it was definitely missing some of the things that Fletch got right.
The story itself is that Hardman is hired to find the daughter of his client who they believe has been taken by her other parent. It looked and felt like an open and shut case but once Hardman dug in a bit he quickly realized that there was a lot more going on. The story takes him to interesting places and he has to chat with some colorful characters.
There was even a twist point where I was pretty sure the book was over but I was wrong – there was a major surprise there that caught me off guard (that I enjoyed). I thought it added another depth to the story that it was missing up until that point.
Overall, I thought that Shawn Compton breathed life into an old story. I enjoyed it and it was a fast read but it wasn’t my favorite mystery/detective novel I’ve ever read. It was good at parts and felt like there was filler for some others. I would probably check out at least one more book in the series before I made up my mind though. It’s funny because I want to call this book old-school but that is exactly what it is. It wouldn’t be insulting since it was written 40 years ago.
The Golden Girl and All by Ralph Dennis
Narrator: Shawn Compton
Length: 4 hrs and 55 mins
Series: Hardman #3
Published by Self Published on March 7th 2019
“Like Chandler and Hammett before him, Dennis was trying to do something different with what was thought of as throwaway literature.” (Joe R. Lansdale, from his introduction)
Jim Hardman was a mediocre Atlanta cop until he was wrongly accused of corruption and thrown off the force. Now he works as an unlicensed PI, trouble-shooter, and bodyguard...often partnered with his drinking buddy Hump Evans, a black ex-NFL player who supports his playboy lifestyle by working as hired muscle.
In The Golden Girl and All, Hardman is hired to find Peggy Holt, a drug dealer, stripper, and serial seductress who has kidnapped her six-year-old daughter from her ex-husband. Peggy has disappeared into an Atlanta underworld populated by the dirty cops, crooked lawyers, and violent mobsters that she's bedded and betrayed...and who keep coming back for more.
The only way Hardman can find her is to follow the trail of corpses that she's left in her wake without becoming one himself.
I received this book for free. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.