FORGOTTEN BOOKS ~ THE NEBRASKA QUOTIENT!
This novel was the first in a six book series featuring single moniker, Midwest private eye, Nebraska, working out of – where else – Omaha.
Once you get past the cute coincidence of character name and location, this was a solid ‘80s hardboiled outing. Despite being well written, the series never found its footing with reader. This was probably partly due to the insipid hardback covers (the paperbacks were somewhat better, as above), and most definitely to the lack of support mainstream publishers show for mid-list writers (no, I am not personally bitter – okay, well, maybe a little).
THE NEBRASKA QUOTENT
In the fast-paced, diamond hard tradition of Raymond Chandler, this tough and literate saga of Midwest murder and corruption introduces Nebraska – a young ex-private eye, world-weary but decent, and not quite as hardboiled as he’d like to pretend.
He’s left the grubby world of private detectives to eke out a living as a freelance writer – in Omaha. Nebraska is forced to delay his work on The Book when ex-partner Morris Cohen crashes through his screen door and expires on the living room rug – but not before delivering a damp strip of incriminating negatives featuring a senator’s daughter in some very revealing postures. Catapulted back into the P.I. trade, Nebraska swiftly finds himself ensnared in a tangled web of blackmail, deceit, and death.
Suddenly he’s back in the world he fled; up hard against the Omaha police, coping with a sleazy porno ring, and with a presidential candidate with something to hide.
Caught between two fierce Mafia mobs, Nebraska finds his life on the line as he races to solve the brutal killings and uncovers a stunning conspiracy that could reach all the way to the White House.
When asked why he chose to set his book in Omaha, William J. Reynolds responded with three reasons: “It’s not L.A., New York, Boston, or any other glamorous place; I know the city, and there’s something cowboy-ish about it, which appeals to my belief that the ‘P.I.’ is the modern variation of the cowboy myth. I called my P.I. Nebraska for the same reason – it’s a very Western, very American word.”
The Nebraska novels are not a landmark P.I. series, but they are worth seeking out for the fresh setting and the likeable, everyman, main character.
The Nebraska Quotient (1984)
Moving Targets (1986)
Money Trouble (1988)
Things Invisible (1989)
The Naked Eye (1991)