Author: Steve Myers

Publisher: Pen-L Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-940222-58-5

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In Steve Myers' A Case of Love and Squalor we have a toss salad of evil, depraved sex and violence featuring Joseph (Jo) Andrews who is reminiscent of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer as he renders vengeance of tremendous proportions.

The story begins with a little turmoil when Andrews meets a woman in a bar, whom he doesn't know is married and returns to her apartment for some fun. As he is about to indulge in sexual relations with her, hubby unexpectedly returns home and chases a half-naked Andrews out of the bedroom window unto the street below, and that is just the beginning. Apparently, around the same time frame, there was someone in the neighborhood shooting and killing dogs. While Andrews is making his escape, two nasty cops, who are known to Andrews, were nearby and arrest him believing he is the dog killer. Andrews is thrown into the municipal lockup which does not have the elaborate accommodations of the county jail and is subjected to some harsh interrogation.

Eventually, someone bails out Andrews and he returns to his apartment where he finds a small business envelope in his mail box with a telephone number and note telling him to contact someone with the initials HK and that the matter is very important. Andrew follows up and phones HK, whose real name is Harold Forrest, and is told that they must meet concerning a very personal matter which requires his discreet help.

When the two meet at Forrest's elaborate estate, Andrews finds out that Forrest is a widower and that his daughter Elaine died in a car crash. Elaine was married to Brad Bowman, who had a daughter, Esme, from a previous marriage and whom Forrest adored. He tells Andrews that Esme visits Brad and his new wife but prefers to stay with him. In addition, Forrest believes that Brad, who had numerous affairs, is morally responsible for Elaine's death. It is also revealed that Forrest received a note in the mail that offered a sex video of Esme for sale and that Esme is a sexually active beautiful young woman of twenty-two who is easily influenced. Forrest believes that with Andrews' considerable experience in dealing with blackmailers and his contacts, he would be the right man to act as a go- between between the blackmailer and Forrest. In addition, he would pay Andrews two thousand dollars plus fifty thousand dollars for the video. As he states, “I can't have anything, anything pornographic, of my Esme out there.” Little did Andrews know that his acceptance of the job offer would involve him in something far more than the exchange of money for a porn video.

At times Myers' writing may be raw, but I have to admit that he is not afraid to imagine wildly or to assume that his readers will follow him down bizarre and sometimes frightening paths. The plot travels at a breakneck speed as the words race down the page, and before this ugly tale is fully told, Myers incorporates dark secrets and a number of nefarious characters including two scumbag cops, rapists, a woman who hears voices, a sex pervert preying on children and young women, mafioso type characters, barbarous kidnappers, pornographers, a charlatan medical doctor, and drug dealers. What will keep you up all night turning the pages of this hard-boiled fiction is that it is crafted as if it were an explosive with an exceedingly long winding fuse as you never know what is going to blow up next, particularly when you have an unpredictable protagonist. There is even touches of with and humor thrown in, however, readers should be forewarned that if you can't stomach graphic chilling scenes, this thriller isn't for you. One comment I do have is the goals of the minor players were at times blurred and I was not sure how their actions serve the story. Minor characters cannot exist solely as a convenience but rather they need to act as if they were advancing their own agendas.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Steve Myers