"I never meant to be a private eye."Thus are we introduced to Pete Amsterdam, the world's most reluctant sleuth and the improbable but totally engaging protagonist of this wry and irresistible novel. Naked in his hot tub, Pete is idly reviewing his morning tennis game when trouble arrives in the form of the inevitable blonde. This being Key West, the blonde is not quite what she seems, and it's useless to explain to her that he's not a real detective--that, in fact, he got his P.I. license strictly as a tax dodge, a way to pretend his new wine cellar is an "office." She's got troubles of her own--big troubles that are utterly foreign to the cozy little paradise Pete has crafted for himself. Why, then, does the unwilling gumshoe allow himself to be squeezed ever tighter against Key West's humid underbelly--involved with the likes of local bully Lefty Ortega, his nympho daughter, and the sleazeball who controls the island's gambling boats? And why does he feel that his life is being taken over by the demands and traditions of the detective story? Will Pete blunder his way through to solving the crime? Will he penetrate the leotard of the lissome yoga teacher who is his only ally? The answers will be found in these fast-moving and hilarious pages, where the hard-boiled flirts with the postmodern. Think of this novel as Raymond Chandler meets Woody Allen meets the Coen brothers, and as a romp that somehow breaks through to serious consideration of the themes of community and responsibility, and the notion that maybe all of us could be heroes--even if mostly in spite of ourselves.
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