Book Review: Devil May Care: A Crag Banyon Mystery
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: James Mullaney
· James Mullaney
by R.J. Carter
Published: July 20, 2012
Somewhere on the sliding scale of fantasy private eyes, closer to Eddie Valiant than Sandman Slim, is Crag Banyon -- a perennially drunken cynic with just enough heart to make him one of the good guys. In a world where King Kong is just waiting to wreak havoc, houses are oftentimes made of gingerbread, and even an octopus can become a hooker if she puts her mind to it, Banyon is the go-to guy if you need someone to walk the seedier streets in your place.
Devil May Care is the second Crag Banyon mystery from James Mullaney, late of Tor's short-lived reboot of the Remo Williams: The Destroyer franchise. If Richard Kadrey had a sense of whimsy, you'd come close to the feeling of a Banyon book. The pages drip with well-timed sarcasm and wise-ass puns, as Banyon deals with elves, demons, and his former co-workers at the police department.
Banyon's new spate of troubles begin when a demon from Hell hires him for a missing person investigation. Molokai is a middle manager from the Cruel & Unusual Punishments division, and has been authorized by his bosses to contract a human to track down their escaped soul. But there's more to the case than meets the eye, and Banyon knows it, as he hits the streets, the gin joints, and the matinee -- dodging a rise in pit bull attacks and the occassional junkie brawl -- on what might become his last case, taking him right to the bowels of Hell itself -- literally!
If you get into the Raymond Chandler rhythm and can allow yourself the chuckles at having a perpetually chipper Christmas elf as Banyon's secretary and the political incorrect observations the writer honed during his Destroyer tenure, then you owe it to yourself to pick up Devil May Care. In fact, pick up two copies in case someone steals your first one. And pack thoughtfully if you're planning to see Batman and Robin in a theater anytime soon.