Joe Gores QuoteThis one requires a little introduction. Joe really went to town, telling me to use "in whole, in part, sliced, diced, chopped or churned." It was extremely generous of him.
“Mark Coggins knows his Hammett and Chandler. Candy from Strangers is, in form, a private eye novel of the old school. August Riordan’s beautiful secretary announces, ‘You have a client.’ As the Op would characterize it, a wandering daughter job. An 18-year-old girl has been missing for three weeks. Find her.
“Then it all goes to hell. This is the 21st Century. Riordan is a horny straight P.I. who also fronts a very good jazz band and falls for the ladies with the regularity of a metronome. But his associate and best friend is a gay cross-dresser who sings with the band and occasionally throws his falsies at some stalwart lad who catches his eye.
“Coggins recreates the private eye novel from scratch, breathing new life into it, standing every cliché of the genre on its ear. In turn fall-down funny, then dark and brooding, Candy from Strangers ends up being a sly examination of all that’s wrong—and right—with today’s youth-driven society. The San Francisco Bay Area is a patient etherized upon a table, unseamed from nave to chops, its guts spilling out from its dark underbelly for all to see.
“When was the last time a book made you laugh out loud, then want to cry out loud, turning heads in a crowded Starbucks? This one will. Violence and sex abound—sex, straight, gay, tender, funny, nasty Tantric. No one is spared Coggins’ scalpel. During a Kama Sutra session with a con-man ashram guru, an underage girl ruins the phony guru’s sexual ecstasy an hour into the session by actually moving!
"By turns tender, brutal, intricate, transparent, challenging, Candy from Strangers is a hell of a read. If it isn’t on the short list come Edgar time, there’s something wrong with the list.”