A Man Named Doll by Jonathan Ames, Happy Doll is a charming, if occasionally inexpert. Private detective living just one sheer cliff beneath the glass houses. Mulholland Drive with his beloved half-Chihuahua half-Terrier, George.
A veteran of both the Navy and LAPD, Doll now works through the night at a local Thai spa. It offers its clients a number of special services. Armed with his sixteen-inch steel telescope baton, biting dry humor, and just a bit of a hero complex. The ex-cop sets out to protect the mostly undocumented immigrant women who work there from clients who have trouble understanding the word “no.”
Doll gets by just fine following his two basic rules: bark loudly and act first. But when things get out-of-hand with one particularly violent patron, even he finds himself wildly out of his depth.
This is an old school dark novel, packed with action and bad men that are ready to do anything for their greed.
I’ll start saying that I loved the main character name “Happy Doll”. I think this is one of my favorite names, after the one I read a long time ago. It was from an identity card “Ceniceros Gratis” (Free Ashtrays); one is fiction, the other one not! ?
Let’s focus on this story, because Hank (he prefers it instead of Happy) deserves a special mention. He is not a bad man, only in a bad place. He is a PI and an ex-cop, he works as a security at a spa. Everything will go south when an old friend asks for his kidney. Lou is dying, he once saved Hank’s life, now he is asking for a kidney for money. The decision is not easy but when Lou appears dead in front of Hank’s house. There’s no more questioning, he needs to know what happened.
With diamonds, lazy cops and organ’s trafficking, the story can’t be more complete. You feel transported to Hank’s world. Where everyone has secrets and they are ready to do whatever they can to make money and not be discovered. As I said, Hank is on a bad place, but his desire to save everyone puts him in danger; several times! I think that if he was a real character he would be dead before arriving at the end of the story.
Also, there’s his beloved dog, George, I think it is the cutest character of the story! And while Hank uses his brute force to fight we can also see his golden heart for George and his friends. I think that’s what makes this book special, this duality, the force but the sweetness.
This had been a short and intense read, I really enjoyed the action and characters. Let’s hope this will not be the only adventure of our character. I need more of him! Are you ready to discover “A Man Named Doll”?
About The Author
Novelist, essayist, creator of the beloved TV series Bored to Death and Blunt Talk. Jonathan Ames is celebrated not only for his comic sensibilities and devotion to the absurd but for his lurid attraction to inner demons.
He is the author of nine books including Wake Up, Sir!, The Extra Man and You Were Never Really Here. All were published by Pushkin Press. You Were Never Really Here was adapted for an award-winning film, starring Joaquin Phoenix, by Lynne Ramsay.