The Plutonium Blonde - John Zakour & Lawrence Ganem (2001)

This is not a great book. That said, it's a pretty good book and a lot of fun. The Plutonium Blonde (and the sequel, The Doomsday Brunette) follow the adventures of hard-boiled 21st century detective Zachary Nixon Johnson, the last last licensed PI on Earth. That, and the title, should tell you if you are going to like this book.

The style is light and breezy; it's pun-laced sci-fi comedy, with nods to classic noir and pulp, and occasional bits of sly social commentary (such as the predilection of the current administration to label everything with "New", causing confusion when talking about "New Mexico." Or does one mean "New New Mexico?") The characters are fun, if not particularly deep. The plot is not terribly complex but has a number of cliffhangers appropriate to a pulp serial, and a momentum that keeps one reading rapidly to the end.

Ultimately, it's not the kind of book that will change your life or stick with you for years and years. It is, however, exactly the kind of book that one reads and enjoys over a Thanksgiving Holiday when one wants to relax and doesn't want anything too deep.

Overall Grade: B

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