Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
The Vinyl Detective is the first in a series about (surprise) the Vinyl Detective, a knowingly nerdish vinyl fanatic who, for a fee, searches out and finds rare records. If this first tale is anything to go by it’s a series to be looked forward to. (The next two titles are advertised in the back of the book.)
When hired by the attractive but mysterious Nevada Warren to track down an impossibly elusive disk he has no idea he is about to tangle with lethally determined hunters from Germany, Japan and the USA – not to mention British fans as nerdish as himself. The disk they seek is more than a rare jazz record; it could be worth a million. Why?
Don’t be put off by my use of the word ‘nerdish’. Cartmel has great fun mocking the arcane knowledge and obsession of his characters – though given his depth of knowledge one suspects he could be pretty nerdish himself – and along with the fun he delivers a splendid, at times deliberately ludicrous, caper novel which whips along at a speed more like 78 than 33 rpm.
Give it a spin.