Forge, Nov 2003, 24.95, 272 pp.
In Puerto del Sol in the southwest desert, private sleuth Mick “Brew” Axbrewder feels self loathing and guilt. During an alcoholic stupor, he killed his brother. Adding to his despondency, his detective partner and lover at that time Ginny Fistoulari blew off her hand with a grenade saving his butt from his latest blunder. Though a doubting Thomas about his abilities, Brew struggles with sobriety vowing in a personal covenant to take care of the depressed Gin, who has not mentally recovered from her trauma.
Gin and Brew are hired to protect First Puerta del Sol National Bank Chief Accountant Reg Haskell. He tells them he lost a lot of money gambling at the El Machismo and has been threatened if he fails to pay off his debt. Though they doubt Reg's claim, Brew serves as his personal bodyguard. However as the sleuths investigate his story they find other fabrications and conclude the entire tale is fiction. When several murder attempts occur, Brew and Gin struggle to put aside their personal problems to uncover the person wanting their mendacious client dead.
THE MAN WHO RISKED HIS PARTNER is the second tale of an expansion of novels written in the 1980s under the name Reed Stephens (see THE MAN WHO FOUGHT ALONE). The story line mixes a hardboiled detective story inside an angst relationship drama. Though Reg is a great support character with his changing explanations fun to follow, the tale suffers from an overabundance of negativity. While Gin behaves semi comatose barely living, Brew is the poster boy for guilty loser. Their angst overwhelms a solid private detective tale, depressing the reader.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner