– Devlin Haskell
Complicated was not what PI Devlin ‘Dev’ Haskell had in mind when he was hired by local businessman Weldon Sofmann to find out who tried to run Sofmann’s car off the road. Though Softmann is convinced someone was trying to kill him, Dev figures it was probably just a simple hit-and-run. Man, was he wrong.
Turns out Sofmann, aka Mr. Softee, has a list of people who hate him that’s longer than Dev’s arm. Known for his ice-cream truck empire, Mr. Softee is anything but soft, his hot temper, mean streak, and cutthroat business practices having earned him countless enemies over the years. And those are just the aboveboard suspects.
Apparently fudgesicles and snow cones aren’t the only things available from a Mr. Softee ice cream truck, as word on the street has it there’s a sophisticated bookmaking operation that’s also ready to take your off the menu order if you know what to ask for.
As Dev begins wading through the potential suspect pool a disturbing pattern starts to arise; people who Dev talks to are ending up on the wrong side of trouble. One is found dead, run over by a train, while another has their business firebombed. Probably not a good for the direction the investigation is heading, and that was before the body turned up in the trunk of Dev’s car. Yeah, things just got a bit more complicated.
Staying one step ahead of the police, who’d really like to talk to him about that body, Dev enlists his friend Tony ‘Dog’ Colli, himself not always on the right side of the law, to help him get to the bottom of things. Easier said than done, as author Mike Faricy takes Dev and Dog down a road as twisted as Lombard Street, one filled with murder, femmes fatales, and more double-crosses than you’ll find at a needlepoint society meeting.
Though he’s written quite a few books, Mr. Softee was the first work by Faricy that I’ve had the pleasure to read. Dev is endearingly slightly inept, and often gets sidetracked by whichever pretty face has last walked past him, not to mention the three ex-wives who keep him on his toes. Which isn’t to say Mr. Softee is a lighthearted romp. Far from it. There are some genuinely nasty people doing genuinely nasty things- often graphically – to each other in this book. Faricy strikes the right balance between the two, however, making Mr. Softee a bit like a nice carton of Neapolitan… there’s something in there for everyone.