The Eli Paxton Mysteries
Mike Resnick is an author that you would be very familiar with if you enjoy science fiction and you certainly would be aware of his prolific and highly awarded catalogue. Me? Until these two novels arrived in the mail I’d never heard of him.
Back in the 90’s he published what was a one-off mystery novel “Dog in the Manger” which is now back in print courtesy of Seventh Street Books which has also enticed him into a second volume “The Trojan Colt” with the promise of more to come in particular #3 in the series “Cat on a Cold Tin Roof”.
There is something appealing about his P.I. creation, Eli Paxton, though even after reading the first book “Dog in a Manger” I couldn’t quite say what it was but it was sufficient for me to delve straight into #2 “The Trojan Colt” even though I only rated the first one about a 7 overall but it obviously possessed enough of those mysterious intangibles to warrant my continued attention.
Eli’s backstory is familiar enough – an ex-cop turned PI as a result of pursuing the wrong case the right way and consequently displeasing the powers that be. Likewise there are more successful pi’s than him out there too so he can’t afford to be too choosy over those clients that do come to him but he can offer them a dogged personality that will run with a case until there is nowhere left to go. There are certain similarities in both books as he is running out of avenues to pursue and about to quit the case until someone decides to take a shot at him which obviously convinces him that he is doing “something” right even if he is blissfully unaware of what he has done to attract such unwanted attention. So overall an engaging character that’s written in an easy-to-read style that isn’t too challenging but enjoyable nonetheless. I had a slight preference for The Trojan Colt over Dog in the Manger but there isn’t much between them, maybe 8 to 7.
Dog in the Manger: Amazon, Kindle
Hired to investigate the disappearance of a Westminster winner Eli Paxton stumbles into a web of intrigue. A dog is missing. Not just any dog. The number one Weimaraner in the country and current Westminster winner. Down-on-his-luck private eye Eli Paxton is hired to find him. Not exactly an elite assignment, but better than nothing. Maybe it will help him pay his rent. It turns out to be anything but a routine case. People start dying in mysterious ways, a cargo plane goes missing, and someone is taking shots at him. It makes no sense. Even a top show dog isn’t worth that much. Now the hunt is on. Paxton needs to find this dog to save his own skin. The trail leads to Arizona, then Mexico, and finally back to his hometown of Cincinnati—where he finds the startling solution.
Hired to guard a high-priced yearling of “Trojan,” a recently retired classic winner in Lexington, Kentucky, Eli Paxton is only days into the job when the yearling’s young groom goes missing. Asked by the boy’s parents to investigate his disappearance, Paxton focuses on the Lexington breeding farm. It turns out that another staff member has disappeared in the past couple of months. As Paxton worries that the missing boys may never be found, he becomes a target himself when a secret threatens to derail the world of professional horse racing.