Ad man Craven's first novel introduces an extremely likable detective, Donald Tremaine, a former champion surfer, now a Malibu PI living in a trailer by the beach. Tremaine's willingness to go with the flow and trust his intuition in a crisis proves useful in the cold-case murder of a genius advertising executive he investigates. There appear to be no unexplored leads left until he dives in with his unorthodox tactics. Sometimes Tremaine squeezes more out of witnesses than the police could, sometimes he squeezes policemen, and a lot of the time he simply lays out the available facts and lets his subconscious play with different arrangements until a new pattern appears. Readers may be as baffled as Tremaine at the novel's unexpected plot twists; however, the mystery's solution is neatly set up and emotionally satisfying. Rather than solemn detectives like Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, Tremaine resembles Jim Rockford, a sometimes clumsy, usually canny, always cool dude. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Body Copyby Michael Craven
Introducing Donald Tremaine, P.I.
Once the world's number one surfer, Donald Tremaine quit at the top of his game, moved into a trailer in Malibu, and became a detective. Beautiful women don't ask for his autograph anymore. Now they ask for his help—like the stunning Nina Aldeen, who wants Tremaine to solve the murder of her/blockquote>/p>… See more details below
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Introducing Donald Tremaine, P.I.
Once the world's number one surfer, Donald Tremaine quit at the top of his game, moved into a trailer in Malibu, and became a detective. Beautiful women don't ask for his autograph anymore. Now they ask for his help—like the stunning Nina Aldeen, who wants Tremaine to solve the murder of her uncle, advertising mogul Roger Gale, brutally slayed in his L.A. office a year earlier. The police investigation went nowhere. The suspects are many, and the victim had more secrets than anyone ever knew. But the closer Tremaine gets to the truth, the closer he comes to a killer who just might make his most complicated case his last.
A novel that both honors and invigorates the classic private eye novel, Body Copy loudly heralds the arrival—with a bullet—of a major contender on the noir scene.
An ex-surfer, ex-husband turned Malibu private eye helps a distressed damsel.
Donald Tremaine cancels his vacation when pretty, sad-eyed Nina Aldeen asks him to solve a case the L.A. cops have given up on. Her uncle Roger Gale, an advertising megastar, has been found bashed and strangled at his office. No one knows why, and the principal suspect, a rival adman, is indictment-proof. Leaving his aged bulldog Lyle to snooze, Donald interviews Gale's co-workers, widow and stepson and comes up empty. Nobody seems to have a motive. But a turn in the surf and some quality time basking on his trailer rooftop get his investigative juices flowing, and soon he's tracking down Gale's purported mistress, his ad rival's mob connections and a cop who worked the original case, then hightailed it to Atlanta. En route to the solution, Donald meets several fans from his pro-surfer days and lusts after several beauties who cross his path. And he tosses the obligatory wisecracks around with his buddy, a local cop. More surfing, more ogling and a dip into some other old case files help Donald solve not one but two murders.
Ex-adman Craven's mystery debut has the plot depth of a half-hour TV caper, but the style is slick. If Harlan Coben doesn't write fast enough for you, this might ease your drought.
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By Michael Craven
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
Copyright © 2009
All right reserved.
Donald Tremaine, the ex-pro surfer, the ex-husband, the current private eye and Malibu trailer park resident, looked in the mirror and said, "Happy birthday, old man."
He was thirty-nine. He didn't feel thirty-nine, though. He didn't. He felt forty-six. But that was because he'd celebrated the night before with a couple friends and more than a couple cocktails.
Tremaine dropped to the floor and cranked out fifty push-ups. As he finished number fifty, he said, "Ouch."
His morning routine hurt a little more than usual. That was also because of the previous night's activities, not because he was officially one year older. That's what he told himself, anyway.
Still down on the ground, he looked over at his ancient English bulldog, Lyle, sleeping in the corner. Back in the old days, Lyle would come over and lick his face when he did push-ups, but not any more. Nowadays, Lyle would just look at him then go right back to sleep. He wouldn't even consider trotting over.
"Where's the love?" Tremaine would say.
But Tremaine knew Lyle was just old, a lot older than thirty-nine. At least on the dog scale.
Tremaine was in a good mood despite the sting in his head. He was giving himself a nice birthday present. Real nice. Two months inAustralia surfing the best waves the continent had to offer. He needed it, too. He'd worked a lot of cases in a row, and he was tired and ready to get out of L.A. for a while.
Nice thing about being a private investigator, you could usually get out of town when you needed to. When business was slow or when he wanted to clear his head, Tremaine would hop in his car and drive down or up the coast—sometimes just for the day—and surf the California spots he'd been surfing all his life. But not this time. This time he was headed across the globe to ride waves he hadn't seen since he quit surfing professionally.
How long had it been, man, fifteen years?
Tremaine, up on his feet now, looked down at his big surfboard bag. All packed. Clothes and equipment for two months, and three different surfboards. All he had to do was drop Lyle at the neighbor's and head to the airport. But not yet. It was only 9:00 a.m. He had some time to kill before his flight. So he grabbed the New York Times—the Gray Lady—and a cup of coffee and walked outside. He then climbed the ladder on the side of his trailer, coffee in one hand, paper under his arm.
Tremaine stood on the roof of his trailer looking due west. He had a clear view of the ocean, just one of the perks of living in the Old Colony Trailer Park in Malibu, California. Sure, you could also see a McDonald's and a row of Dumpsters just off the Pacific Coast Highway, but boy, could you see that ocean. The Pacific. Big—giant—and right there. Just down the hill and across the two-lane highway. The vast, blue-green mass was practically his backyard.
Tremaine had a couple chairs and a table set up on the roof, so he sat down and got to the paper. First up, the front page. Then sports, then the arts.
It was quiet. The wind rustled his paper a little, and a car or two zoomed by down on the PCH, but for the most part it was quiet. Nice and quiet. Just Tremaine, his paper, his coffee, and his slowly disappearing hangover. Then that quiet was broken.
A black Volvo station wagon pulled up next to his trailer and parked in the guest spot. A young woman got out of the car and looked up on the roof at Tremaine, who was looking at her.
"Excuse me, I hope this isn't a bad time. I'm looking for Donald Tremaine. Are you Donald Tremaine?"
Tremaine looked at the stranger. A brunette, early to mid-thirties, a shadow across her face as she shielded her eyes from the sun. And, Tremaine couldn't help but notice, attractive. Quite attractive. He was a P.I.; he noticed these things.
"Shit," he said under his breath.
Tremaine thinking, this is someone coming to me with a case. It sure as hell wasn't a groupie from his old surf tour days. The random groupies had stopped showing up a while ago. Shame about that. No, this had to be a case. Tremaine normally didn't turn down cases, almost never, but he was going on vacation no matter what. Yes, she was attractive, but that absolutely did not matter. That wouldn't affect his decision. It wouldn't.
Tremaine said, "Yes, I'm Donald Tremaine. How can I help you?"
"I wanted to talk to you about hiring you. Should I come up?" she said.
Tremaine liked that she wasn't afraid to do business on the roof of a trailer. But it might be a little more professional to talk inside, even though he wasn't taking the case. He stood up and said, "I'll come down."
Excerpted from Body Copy by Michael Craven Copyright © 2009 by Michael Craven. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Michael Craven is an advertising writer and creative director, and is the author of two previous books, Body Copy and The Detective & the Pipe Girl, nominated for both the Nero Wolfe and Shamus Awards. He lives and works in New York City.
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