Dzanc Books: 3/18/2014
ebook, 298 pages
The town is Stanton, TX, population 3000. Your name is Nicholas Bruiseman, and you’re a disgraced homicide detective so down on your luck you’ve been forced to take a job as the live-in security guard for the town’s lone storage facility. At last, you can finally get on with the business of drinking yourself to a better state of mind, except the ghosts of childhood keep rising all around you. You might have been done with Stanton once upon a time, but Stanton’s hardly done with you.
Not for Nothing by Stephen Graham Jones is a recommended detective novel.
Nick Bruiseman was a detective with the police department. Now, after being kicked off the force and told to leave Midland, he's a private investigator, sort of, and the security guard for the storage facility in his hometown of Stanton, Texas. What Nick is really doing is living - and mostly drinking - in a storage unit. Then things get more complicated.
A woman he thought he loved during high school shows up to hire Nick: "The exhaled smoke rises to the top of the storage unit, goes all paisley around the yellow bulb, and it’s then that the woman you know you should know says your name. The one nobody’s called you since grammar school."
Nick The woman, Gwen, wants to hire Nick. She's concerned that an ex-con is stalking her:
“You said you—that you provide security for this place.”
You nod once.
She picks it up, keeps nodding, adds, “That’s what I want too, Nick. Security.”
After this Rory Gates shows up and wants to hire Nick to spy on his wife whom he believes is having an affair. Nick ends up with "Three-hundred and seventy-five dollars in one day, you tell yourself. Three hundred of it cash money, even. The other seventy-five you unfold, study. In the top left corner of the check is Rory and Gwen Gates. You close your eyes, press the check to your forehead." That's right, now Nick has money to keep up his drinking but both husband and wife have hired him. And then a murder happens and Nick is the suspect...
Nick is a damaged character who admits to more than one flaw and plenty are present. The story is packed with plenty of twists and turns that keep the plot interesting and the action moving at a brisk pace. For me, it is worth noting that Not for Nothing is written in the second person. I guess while I liked the story, I felt some prejudice over the second person, present tense delivery. I found it cumbersome and awkward to read. Admittedly this is my problem. The novel is worth reading, especially if you don't get hung up on delivery.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Dzanc Book via Netgalley for review purposes.