Requiem for the Widowmaker
By Blackie Noir
As soon as I read the author's name in my Facebook group, Reviewers Roundup, I decided I had to read his novel--nothing like publicizing the genre to the world and making sure they knew what to expect! I loved it, although I'd still kinda like to know his real name...LOL In the past, I've tried to get a handle on the noir, hard-boiled crime genre, but I was still not sure what it totally encompassed until I read Blackie's blog article about how he started writing. Turns out, I've been reading these authors myself! LOL
I wasn't quite sure who to call the main character--the Widowmaker? The cops chasing him?
"Eyeballing his attire, speaking in her own voice, Nadine says, “Sure it’s not Johnny Vintage?”
Slowly unfolding his lanky frame, Johnny Vance rises to loom over Nadine. Offering his knobby-knuckled hand, he says, “I knew I was gonna like you --- partner.”
Ignoring Vance’s hand, choosing to keep her gun hand tight around her revolver, she says,
“You’re Detective Vancetti?”
“Johnny Vance around the department. Detective Vancetti, that’s for citizens. What about you Kozok? You rude? Gonna leave my hand sticking out here like I’m panhandling?”
“You’re Vancetti, how about you show me some ID.”
“Fine.” Producing a battered leather badge wallet, similar to Nadine’s pristine version, he flips it open revealing his gold shield and ID card.
“OK. I’ve been a little edgy lately,” Nadine says, “so I appreciate your doing that.”
“Enough to shake my hand?” “Sure, but it’ll have to wait till I grab a shower. I’ve been out running, I’m wringing wet, my top, shorts, no place to even wipe my palm.”
Vance grins, “Don’t worry about it, but if you’ve got to have a shower, better make it a quick rinse. We’re pressed for time.” Looking at his watch, he says, “I’ll give you fifteen minutes, then I’m out of here.”
“Excuse me? I don’t know what your hurry is, but I’m still off duty. Not due to report in till Monday. Tell you what Vance, I have no idea why you’re here or what you’re talking about, but you can take your fifteen minutes and leave without me. Go.”
Dropping his cigarette butt to the walk, Vance says, “Listen to me . . .”
Livid, Nadine says, “No. You listen to me. Fuck this shit. I come home from a kick-ass run, feeling great. Terrific way to start to my day. But no, what do I find on my doorstep? An aging Robert Loggia sprawled on my porch, covering my walkway with cigarette butts. Who the fuck you think cleans up around here, Mega Maid?”
“Look . . .”
“No! You look. Fifteen minutes for a quick shower? The minute you introduce yourself you start ordering me around? Where do you get off, pulling that kind of shit? Another thing . . .”
Vance shouts his interruption, “Widowmaker!”
Stunned, more by Vance’s volume than his words, Nadine’s mouth snaps shut.
Pressing his advantage, Vance says, Sorry, but I had to get your attention. You’re gonna be a detective, first thing you need to learn is to shut up and listen. Work with me here, two minutes that’s all I’m asking. Now, you do know that we’re gonna be partners?”
“Sheba Johnstone told me. She also said you could be difficult.”
“Two minutes, remember? Silent, Nadine nods.
Vance continues, “Sheba tell you Butch Ritter assigned you to her Widowmaker task force?”
Vance grins, Now, I understand that you’re not due in till Monday. Hell, I’m supposed to have the weekend off too.”
Nadine shrugs, So?”
“So, our friend the Widowmaker doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your leave, or my weekend.”
“What’re you saying?”
“I’m saying there are three dead scumbags in the parking lot of a dive called JuicyTown on Pacific Coast Highway. Two of the mutts took small caliber shots to the temple.”
“Two victims? At once? That’s not his MO.”
“Right. Could be he’s getting greedy. Could be it’s not his work. I don’t know.”
Frowning, Nadine says, “You said there was a third body. What about him?”
“Two shots to the face. Bigger bore weapon. Definitely not the Widowmaker’s style.”
“Yeah, but this third guy? Maybe he’s the Widowmaker."
“Possible. Tell you one thing.”
“Faster you get your ass in gear, the faster we can get down there, start putting things together, get some answers. Now, you with me?”
“Ten minutes. Partner.”
Of course that was easy for me since I always enjoy a strong female character and Nadine surely met that as can be seen above when she was first meeting her new partner. Before that, she had recently been promoted for chasing and ultimately killing a man who turned out to be wanted for a number of murders. Nadine became a hero and that chase scene, of course filmed in some way, went virile (if they had that capability during the time Nadine lived)...
Her boss had watched the chase over and over, deciding how he should reward her. In the meantime, another strong woman who was heading up a Task Force to catch the Widowmaker thought Nadine would make a good addition to her team. Along with Nadine, she also got Johnny Vance, who she was not happy about, since he had once refused to partner with her--I'll let you find out why when you read it!
Actually Nadine and Vance made a great team and I wish the novel had not ended as it did...so that we could enjoy them in the future...
The Widowmaker had mellowed from his old days when he'd been given the moniker Icepick, but a somewhat traumatic event for him had affected him so that he'd become more selective with his kills--choosing to rid the world of those men who, like the man who'd killed his lover, beat up, abused and threw women away routinely.
In fact, he had been on the way to kill a local bar owner, when he coincidentally found two men beating up on one of the dancers there. He had killed both of those men, who had already killed his original victim...and then decided to let the dancer go--was he making his first mistake?
Nadine and Vance hooked up at the scene with Vance's old partner and went on to verify that there were two guns that had killed the duo, who, of course, were also wanted criminals. The second had been the .22 caliber that was the signature gun for the Widowmaker...
But now they thought they had a lead, a witness, because as they analyzed the scene, it was clear that the dancer had gotten away!
And so the hunt begins...
But there is an often humorous concurrent story line about Nadine's family who had adopted her many years ago and had treated her as their own. I enjoyed a family barbecue scene where Nadine brought a movie star who had approached her after seeing "the chase scene" and how the family and he interacted. Let's just say that this family didn't accept phonies...LOL
Will you guess how this book ends, as I did? For me, it was the perfect ending; but I admit that you and others might totally disagree! Like I said earlier, I would have preferred that Nadine and Vance stayed on the job, but, hey, they went out with a bang... Highly recommended! Enjoy!
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