Saturday, July 6, 2024

The Blind Devotion of Imogene

The Blind Devotion of Imogene by David Putnam
7/9/24; 246 pages
Level Best Books
The Misadventures of Imogene Taylor #1

The Blind Devotion of Imogene by David Putnam is a highly recommended character-driven 70's noir .

It's 1973 and seventy-five year old Imogene Taylor is out of prison and on parole. She works at Dentco, a store that sells dented canned goods, and enjoys her Marlboro Reds, and Schlitz beer. She also tries to avoid her parole officer, Nancy Do-Right. Due to some letters she wrote to the President while in prison, Eugene, a Secret Service agent, takes her to lunch on the government's dime if the president is in the area. The last thing she needs is some gangster called The Cigar trying to extort Dentco for protection money. After her neighbor Suz's father dies, Suz asks for Imogene's help cleaning out the garage and this adds another big problem.

Set your expectations and disbelief aside while reading this entertaining, comedic noir novel set in Southern California. The tone to the novel is rather bleak and forlorn even when comedic elements are added to the narrative. The action and plot twists can feel a bit excessive and could result in eye-rolling, but that seems to be the whole point of the plot. There are some flashbacks which serve to strengthen and round out Imogene's character as well as provide background information about her life.

The Blind Devotion of Imogene features Imogene and a cast of quirky characters. All of them are caricatures of a type of person, which serves to enhance the humor embedded in the narrative. The nicknames Imogene gives to everyone also adds to the amusement as well as a description of them.

The author's notes at the end of the novel should not be skipped as they provide some interesting information pertinent to the story. This is the first novel of a new series so be forewarned: everything is not resolved and wrapped up at the ending. Thanks to Level Best Books for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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