The Man in the Blizzard
Three Rivers Press ($14.95)
Gary Shulze, Once Upon a Crime
Writing for CrimeSpree
Augie Boyer is a private eye. He's also a poetry aficionado, amateur
cellist, and a heavy-duty stoner. A doper. A pothead. A founding
member of the Dope for Breakfast Club.
In Bart Schneider's one, and possibly only nod to
the "conventional" P.I. genre, a beautiful blond walks
into Augie's office, wanting Augie to find a stolen violin. Now
this is something right up Augie's erudite and eclectic alley,
but he soon finds himself involved in a complex case involving
neo-Nazi violin collectors, anti-abortionists, a shrink practicing
mind control, and, of course, a murder plot.
Nothing that a little more pot won't help him to
Augie does have his issues; his therapist wife left
him for another therapist, he's grossly overweight, his girlfriend
loves him to death but he's too insecure to believe it, and his
testosterone level is way too low and falling.
Set just prior to the Republican National convention
in the Twin Cities, and impeccably researched, this novel is packed
with loads of fascinating information about rare violins, poetry,
the Nazi's looting and cataloging of priceless treasures during
WWII., and, of course, pot. Given all this information, and the
complexity of the plot and its characters, "The Man in the
Blizzard" is a surprisingly slim volume at just a hair over
300 pages. But, of course, being a poetry buff, Mr. Schneider
writes with a masterful economy of words. His is a fresh and welcome
approach to the genre.
After solving the case and saving lives, Augie tells
his friends: "I have a poem for you both, which pretty much
describes my life as a pothead and a detective. After I recite
it, I'm going to need to be alone to contemplate it. "The
Man in the Blizzard" by Thomas McGrath.
Even his tracks are gone!
And, of course, his shadow
But he keeps walking around,
Certain that someone
Was here before-
Or will be."
Give this book a try, and after you're done, fire up a doobie
(just kidding), get yourself alone, and contemplate it.