Bayou City Burning
File Size: 1856 KB
Print Length: 390 pages
Publisher: Boomerang Books (June 1, 2019)
Publication Date: June 1, 2019
BOOK BLURB: It’s hard to be hard-boiled when your biggest fan and worst critic is your 12-year-old daughter, especially when she’s cracking your case for you and defending you from the bad guys, joined by pals human and feline.
Comedy meets mystery and history in the summer of 1961, when Houston is still a cowboy backwater—overheated and under-air conditioned. P.I. Harry Lark and his daughter Dizzy team up to solve several mysteries. The Freedom Riders are inspiring the local civil rights movement and the dockworkers are preparing to strike, so things are really heating up when an out-of-towner entangles P.I. Harry Lark with President Kennedy’s moon mission.
LBJ and his Texas cronies are plotting to get NASA to build a space center in Houston, but somebody is out to stop them. Then Harry is hired to clear a local civil rights group of involvement in a string of firebombings. Meanwhile, Dizzy and her chums are running a lost-and-found out of a suburban garage when they’re hired to find a missing father. All of these cases converge as Harry admits that he needs all the help he can get, even if it comes from a preteen Nancy Drew fanatic.
REVIEW: This is the first of a new series by this author, and I love the idea of a father/daughter team of investigators – especially when the daughter is so young.
By the way, I think Dizzy upstaged Harry most of the time, but that’s generally true with a very smart, precocious 12-year old. I did enjoy the team of sleuths that Dizzy pulled together for the Lost and Found business. All of the girls were distinct as characters and fun to meet in the pages of Bayou City Burning.
This book felt like a mix of a young adult caper-type mystery, similar to plots in Nancy Drew books, and elements of the Raymond Chandler noir PI mysteries. As a fan of both, it was a real pleasure to see those elements in this book.
The connection between what Dizzy and her friends were doing – trying to find information about the man who was supposedly killed in a horrible train wreck – and how that tied into what Harry was doing took a little time to develop. But the time was well spent, as the characters came alive and the story took on more depth.
A reader might question some of the things that Harry shares with his daughter, especially letting her handle guns and taking her to a shooting range. I did at first, but then I remembered that that things were different in 1961. At that time, it was more common for things like that to happen, especially with people in law enforcement, as well as farmers & ranchers. Most of those folks wanted to teach their children how to safely handle a weapon.
One of the things I especially liked about the story was the fact that Dizzy and her father had equal roles in solving the overall mystery and bringing the cases to a close.
If you’re a fan of a good mystery with great characters and a lot of humor, this is the book for you.
A native Texan, Borton became an ardent admirer of Nancy Drew at a young age. At the age of fourteen, she acquired her own blue roadster, trained on the freeways of Houston, and began her travels. She left Texas at about the time everyone else arrived.
In graduate school, Borton converted a lifetime of passionate reading and late-night movie-watching into a doctorate in English. She discovered that people would pay her to discuss literature and writing. But because she found young people interesting and entertaining, she became a college teacher. Later, during a career crisis, she discovered that people would pay her to tell stories, although even less than they would pay her to discuss stories written by someone else.
Borton is the author of two mystery series—the Cat Caliban series and the Gilda Liberty series—as well as the recent mystery Smoke and the comic novel Second Coming. She draws on her academic research to write a blog on the history of girl detectives, available on her WEBSITE, where you can join her mailing list. You can also follow her on FACEBOOK
Do come back on Wednesday when D.B. will be my guest.