Alan Baxter barely scrapes by working as a deejay in suburban Detroit. To make ends meet, he takes a job as an automobile repossession agent, and discovers his very first assignment is a car owned by his drug dealer ex-boyfriend. On top of that, a body is discovered in the trunk…by a cop. Soon Alan’s life is completely upturned as he is pulled into a mystery involving more bodies, a highly lethal new street drug, a mysterious man with a top hat and cane, raging dwarves, a house fire, a cranky police detective, and his even crankier cat!
The characters and their relationship with each other stands out in this murder mystery. Alan Baxter is an ex addict who’s recently lost his fortune to a crooked accountant and is barely making ends meet as a Detroit DJ. He’s got expenses he can’t cover and bad luck in the romance department.
His friend Gus, who’s a drag queen at the club where Alan works, offers him a moonlighting gig. Things start to go wrong when Alan discovers that the vehicle he’s repossessing belongs to his ex drug dealing boyfriend who he may still be attracted to and turns worse when he, and the police, find a body in the trunk.
Alan spends most of the rest of the book attracting all of the wrong kinds of attention from the wrong kinds of people and getting into one goofy scrape after another. Despite all the criminal activities, the book is lighthearted and humorous even if occasionally crude. We get some discussion on gross pimples and what’s inside Alan’s cat Baxter’s litter box. All that aside, the humor is warm and bittersweet with a touch of slapstick.
It’s clear Alan’s friends care for him. Besides his friend Gus, he also has a bouncy auburn haired friend named Sabrina. We’re also introduced to Alan’s sweet if rather ineffective father. There’s no overt romance in this story although Alan enjoys a mild flirtation with a hunky bartender in the club.
The mystery itself depends on a series of coincidences and bad luck. It’s fun. It’s aim seems to be doing for car repossession what Stephanie Plum did for bondswomen. This is not quite as hilarious even if they do share some similarities. They both have bad luck with cars anyways.
I enjoyed the characters and the light mystery and think there’s more stories to tell here including finding out if Alan can ever move beyond the flirting stage.