cover image Double Wide

Double Wide

Leo W. Banks. Brash, $12.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-997832-34-1

Banks’s strong noir debut will remind many of early Joe Lansdale. Prospero “Whip” Stark, a former professional baseball pitcher, has retreated to a trailer park, population eight, in the Arizona desert, after a drug bust led to his doing time in a Mexican jail. One hot, stormy summer day, he opens a box that mysteriously appeared outside his trailer. Inside is a severed hand that he recognizes as that of former catcher Rolando Molina, a close friend, whom he last saw two years earlier outside a rehab center in Malibu, where Rolando was being treated for cocaine addiction. Whip and neighbor Opal Sanchez follow car tracks to a bluff, where he discovers a body that at first appears to be Rolando’s—but it’s not missing a hand. Whip later joins forces with reporter Roxanne Santa Cruz to find his baseball buddy, dead or alive. Opal’s disappearance raises the stakes. Since he’s new to this kind of work, Whip turns to his vast library of pulp detective fiction for guidance. Smart dialogue helps propel the tight plot. (Nov.)