This is my first encounter with Steve Brewer and his character Wilton “Bubba” Mabry. I’ve always had a fondness for P.I. stories and am always happy to find new ones. Bubba lives in Albuqurque a place he fell in love with after a stint in the Air Force as an M.P.at a nearby base. I had a fine time with these two books, the latest is the first new one in six years, which leaves me with a lot of backtracking to do.
In LONELY STREET, P.I. Wilton “Bubba” Mabry gets a strange case out of the blue. An overweight man named Buddy, who talks with a lisp, invites him up to a hotel room to meet his friend, Mr. Aaron. Bubba is astounded when he sees the man.
It’s either Elvis Presley or a very good impersonator. Considering Elvis has been dead seventeen years, likely the later. Sixty, with a thick shock of graying hair, stocky but in better shape than the last remembered photos of Elvis.
But, you see, Bubba wanted to believe here was a man who’d gotten tired of the publicity, the unwanted notoriety, and, at the end, the fading of his music. As a dead man, he was more popular all these years later and he didn’t need money. That had been taken care of.
In his heart, Bubba didn’t really believe the man was really Elvis, just that he and his friend Buddy believed it.
The job they offered was to good To pass up. Elvis was being harassed and they wanted him to follow a Hank Tankersly, keep an eye on him for a few days while they were in Albuquerque on business. The man was to good to pass up either. Thirty dollars an hour.
Tankersly seemed to be watching an office building. Bubba in turn watched him and reported to Mr. Aaron the first day. the second day, he decided to earn his money. he got a snitch of his, known as Rodent, to look into Tankersly, and slipped away from the office building to search the fellow’s hotel room.
And Tankersly was gone by the time he returned. Waiting a couple of hours to see if the man returned, after all yesterday he’d left to get lunch, Bubba finally returns to pick him back up at his motel room. He suspicious when it starts to get dark and notices a light on. He hadn’t left one on.
The room is open and, upon entering, finds Tankersly shot to death, three in the chest while sitting on the toilet!
Things are downhill from there. Rodent is found shot to death, three times in the chest, and even his friend on the police force, Steve Romero, can’t help much. He knows Bubba wouldn’t haved killed Tankersly, a reporter as it turns out, or his snitch. His boss has other ideas. After all, his fingerprints are all over the room.
And Mr. Aaron and Buddy have checked out of the hotel and disappeared. A half pint named Felitia Quattlebaum, editor of a supermarket tabloid, charges into his room accusing him of murdering her reporter and swearing to prove it. Another reporter, Bambi Gamble, is trying to pry the story out of him. That she looks as hot as her name suggests doesn’t help Bubba control himself either.
He’s got to find Buddy and Mr. Aaron to clear his name.
A fine introduction to a series I’ve taken a liking to immediately.
By a bit of luck, he does that fairly quickly, then things go downhill from there. He gets the law ready to hang something on him, a dead body, thugs beating him, a wife, Felitia, a crusading reporter, that he finds himself having to lie to her, not an easy job there.
He wants to find a killer, tie it all together, if that’s possible, and emerge still alive.
Also not an easy prospect.