cover image The Big Blast

The Big Blast

Michael Lister. Pulpwood, $26.99 (186p) ISBN 978-1-888146-64-6

Set in 1944, Lister’s fifth noir featuring PI Jimmy “Soldier” Riley (after 2015’s The Big Bout) effectively combines an atmospheric evocation of WWII-era Florida with a puzzling whodunit. Jimmy reunites with boyhood friend Orson Ferrell, a combat veteran who didn’t “leave any parts over there, but brought a few extras home with me. Shrapnel in my leg and a metal plate in my head.” Orson asks Jimmy to help him track down Joan, the missing girlfriend of their mutual friend Ernie, before Ernie returns home from serving overseas. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s old boss wants him to help with the search for Germans planning to plant explosives around North Florida. The discovery of the severely beaten corpse of a woman who was last seen alive in Orson’s company raises the stakes. The plot is engaging enough, but as usual in the best of Lister’s work, the high points are small, moving glimpses of his characters’ inner lives. [em]Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary. (July) [/em]