P.I. Crag Banyon is back in his second adventure. He’s your typical private investigator, an ex-cop. The apartment rent is overdue and eviction threatened. Ditto for the office. Utilities are all past due. He tends to drink heavily. And he hadn’t seen a client in a month. The local police Lieutenant is eternally after him. And he has a secretary, Doris, that sticks with him even though the pay gets iffy at times.
Banyon’s world is a bit different. Demons run the streets, Godzilla is real and had finally destroyed Tokyo back in the eighties. Super intelligent talking gorillas had dropped through a swirling vortex from the future years back. Stone statues disconcertingly coming to life during electrical storms. Banyon had once been hired to return gargoyles to the local church. Though short, only three feet, they were exceedingly tough. They were made of stone after all. Minotaurs on the police force. And he had an elf named Mannix for a junior partner, an elf with a part time job passing naughty names to the North Pole.
But everything has it’s limits. When he arrives at his office to find a demon named Molokai with a sob story and a sack filled with thirty pieces of silver, he was inclined to refuse the job. Molokai, all eight feet of him was sweating slime all over the furniture and burning holes in the carpet with his hoofed feet.
Demon Molokai was VP of the Cruel & Unusual Punishments department in Hell. One of his charges, Harvey Waters, forty-seven years into a sentence of eternity, had escaped back into the real world, exactly the same as he’d looked back then before the car had splashed him all over the street. The demon wanted him found before word got back to the Big Guy. Just too embarrassing.
Banyon didn’t really want the job, but greed overwhelmed him. Remember the mention of overdue rents, utilities, and bar bills all over the city.
But the simple missing person(?) case soon devolves into much worse. Things are not so simple as a missing soul. Banyon is running for his life and the cops are after him for several deaths.
James Mullaney has long been a favorite writer. He wrote or co-wrote some of the best books in The Destroyer series. The Crag Banyon series uses that same sarcastic comments, both out loud and interior monologue, the skewed look at much of what passes for pop culture that was a hallmark of that series. Such as the method Banyon uses to visit hell to question some of the missing soul’s co-workers. It involves watching virtually any George Clooney movie. Works by Adam Sandler and Nicholas Cage work just as well. Banyon can stand proudly alongside Remo and Chiun.
Devil May Care can be ordered here and the first Crag Banyon adventure, One Horse Open Slay, in which Banyon gets an elf arriving on a stolen sled claiming something strange is going on at the North Pole is equally wild. Banyon blows him off and the elf turns up murdered the next day.
Both are highly recommended.