Monday, October 29, 2012
Haftman's Rules - by Robert White - A wild ride that begins with the search for a client's missing teenage daughter
Thomas Haftmann is a Private Investigator, the sole existentialist P.I. in Northern Ohio. He's also a former Detective with Cleveland Homicide.
The story is sprinkled with Haftmann's Rules, things like, "Every existentialist in good standing must own a gun, and every week the existentialist rulebook says that the gun ought to me inserted barrel first into the mouth. Then you make a choice."
I felt the existentialist PI bit played nicely throughout the book. Added to the character of Thomas Haftmann without getting in the way of the telling of the tale.
In this story, Haftmann's client is John O'Reilly who has hired him to locate his estranged 17 year old daughter. Thing is, Annaliese Marie O'Reilly doesn't exactly want to be found.
As the investigation gets going Haftmann learns plenty about the relationship between client and daughter that flat out disgust him. But, he doesn't give up. He never gives up.
The author, Robert White, has a gift for dialog, imbuing each character with it's own cadence and attitude.
The story itself was totally engrossing and at times I found myself getting lost in Haftmann's world. Things never quite turn out how you might expect and the investigation goes way beyond it's original scope. There some huge surprises. Stuff that left me asking, "What the hell just happened here"?
Haftmann's Rules has plenty of disturbing images. One in particular, which will stick with me for a long time, involves a human water balloon. Needless to say, this book is for mature audiences and those not easily offended.
I did feel the book started to drag a bit toward the end, but at the same time I can say it was worth the read and I can recommend Haftmann's Rules as a solid PI story.
BTW, the character, Thomas Haftmann, has appeared in other works by Robert White, but they are not required reading and this is the first full-length novel to feature the character and it works very well as a stand-alone story.
Haftmann's Rules, is published by Grand Mal Press and is available as a paperback and e-book from a wide variety of sources.