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Meet Al Zymer--a former LAPD detective, now a private eye, who might have early stage Alzheimer’s, or who might just be doing a bad Columbo imitation. Hired by a Beverly Hills clothing store owner to find out who bombed his expensive shop, Al and his young assistant take off for the city of Ventura, where a mobster named Manny La Mancha--a dangerous man to cross--is hiding out in the Witness Protection Program.That’s the blurb I’ve concocted for Forget About It: The First Al Zymer Senile Detective Mystery, which starts running today in weekly installments in my own blog, The Knowledgeable Blogger.
Some of you may remember--certainly editor Jeff Pierce does--my first attempt at writing a serial novel here in The Rap Sheet. It was called Men’s Adventure and was a great idea, its story based on my early years as an editor and writer for Argosy and True magazines. However, it ran for just four installments before disappearing without a trace. An illness had something to do with that tale’s abrupt ending, but the truth was that I didn’t really know where the story was going; I hadn’t worked it out enough before starting to post.
I don’t think that will happen with Forget About It. The plot is already much more advanced than Men’s Adventure ever was, and it gets more complicated and interesting every time I work on it. I've decided to publish it as a serial novel for much the same reason, I suspect, that Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle sought that same avenue to publication--to give myself a kick up the arse. I’m 73 years old now, the editor friend who is interested in tackling the completed novel is 80, and so I’d better get cracking.
Where, you might well ask, is the story in Forget About It heading? And why do so many characters you haven’t met yet (a Japanese owner of an Italian restaurant, Mifune Valentine; a Russian gangster, Mischa Goss; tough guys Creighton Barrel and Hugh Mungess; plus females Lu Byanka and Mia Kulpa) have names that sound like bad puns? Let me just say that Al and his young associates, one of whom is the son he never knew he had, risk life and limb to find out why Manny La Mancha and a top LAPD cop conspired to have Zymer framed and fired many years ago ...