The Highly Effective Detective
"I'd had this dopey idea to be a detective ever since my mother
gave me an illustrated Sherlock Holmes book for my tenth birthday.
For months, I walked around the house with a bubble pipe and two
baseball caps on my head, one turned backward so I would have that
These two irresistible sentences start this first novel in a
(hopefully long) series of books starring Theodore Ruzak.
When he comes into some money, Teddy Ruzak decides to quit his job
as a night watchman and follow his dream of being a private
investigator. So he sets about hiring his favorite waitress,
Felicia, to be his secretary. Why he thought that might be a good
idea is anybody's guess, but good idea or not, Teddy has a crush on
her and just wants her around. Felicia may not be the greatest at
office work but she is great at shopping, which she does a stunning
job of with Teddy's money. Her theory is that to be successful you
must look successful. This theory nearly depletes the Highly
Effective Detection & Investigation Company's bank account, but
even Teddy has to admit that the office contains some very swank
furniture. And Felicia is dressing nicer, too.
After an outlay of an obscene amount of cash, the DIC lands a
client. Teddy Ruzak has a case. Mr. Parker Hudson wants him to find
a killer. Naturally, Teddy's ears perk up at this. Sounds like a
big job. He downsizes his exuberance, however, when he learns that
the victims –-- yes, multiple victims --- are a bunch of
goslings. Well, everybody has to start somewhere.
With an affinity for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Teddy could modestly
be described as a large man, despite his rather impressive height
--- well into halfway between six and seven feet. He is also a man
of upstanding moral character, which he will need to prove if
he expects to pass the private investigator's exam, a minor
detail he overlooked when setting up shop. But getting a
license is definitely on his list of things he plans to do
soon. Unfortunately, the good moral character is about the only
requisite quality that Teddy possesses. He's a little short in the
competence department. Meanwhile, though, he has a case and intends
to do his best to solve it.
As a Police Academy dropout, Teddy is thrilled when a local cop
offers him some off-duty help. It presents Teddy with a chance to
work elbow to elbow with a real law enforcement type. All seems to
be going along quite nicely when, of course, he hits a snag
--- and a pretty darned big one. A long time coming, the
realization finally strikes him that he may be in over his head.
Passing the PI exam starts to look like the least of his
Teddy Ruzak --- large, awkward, rambling, outspoken and honest as
the day is long. Well, maybe he's not the toughest detective in
town, but I for one sincerely hope he lives to stumble through
Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 22, 2011