Rocket Ryder & Little Putt-Putt Go Down Swinging – Timothy Friend (2018)

The only negative thing I can say about this novella is that it has an overly long and somewhat misleading title. However once I read it and the liner notes that included author’s intent, I understood how it came to be yet still wish a more apropos title was used. I say this because it was only a matter of circumstance that I picked up the book in the first place . But I’m certainly glad I did.

This is a 1950’s era murder mystery that includes Film Noir clichés like a murder, a set of compromising photos of a well-to-do individual, rogue cops on the take, some down on their luck characters, and revenge as a central driving force. What distinguishes it from Film Noir is the decidedly spicy language used throughout. No Hays Code filtering here!

The author also clearly has a fondness for classic day-time kiddie shows like Captain Video, Space Ranger and other bygone low budget silver suited heroes. In this case the titular characters Rocket Ryder and Little Putt-Putt, the star and sidekick of a miserly Kansas TV station have just learned that their TV show has been cancelled and that they are out of job. But that’s just the beginning of their problems.

When our protagonist Scotty Crane (AKA Little Putt-Putt) gets a late night call from Rick Tanner (AKA Rocket Ryder) to meet him he is shocked to find that their former show’s director and longtime army buddy has been murdered. The trail leads to the wealthy station owner and his son, but as is always the case while piecing together the clues, the motives, repercussions and conclusion have a number of twists and turns.

Told from the point of view of Little Putt-Putt, his relationship with Rocket Ryder develops nicely as the story progresses. The sleuthing itself is not that remarkable, however the trail is an interesting one. A minor plot device of Scott also having to keep an eye on his bad ticker (that’s a slang reference to his heart you young’uns!) which he nicknames his “Yobo” was more annoying than adding to the tension, but was not bad enough to take me out of the story.

I really enjoyed the nostalgic feeling reading about a world with Brownie cameras, The Dumont TV network (look it up!) and pump jockeys. This was a short, but enjoyable read of neo-Noir that I don’t come across too often, but would certainly like to read more of. I picked up this book from Myth Hawker books and will be shopping for more.

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: