Sal and Buddy are at it again, meaning they're in way over their combined brainpower, which just isn't the two-brain total it ought to be! These guys and their sidekick, a 1976 Buick Century pimped out with reconfigured bumpers of dual-thickness steel that most resembles a Bradley tank, minus the side mirrors, and possibly a door, once again find themselves on the wrong side of everyone. No one is happy with how they carry out their mission. Not the law, not the bad guys, and not the good guys. Oh, and the boys will have to work a lot smoother (impossible!) to please Veronica, the gorgeous daughter of the local drug lord who shows her well-lotioned legs to both Buddy and Sal at just the right time...although not at the same time.
This is the third book in the Red Fox Series, and every installment is a sidesplitting experience of laughter and pure enjoyment. Add to that Lamendola's mastery of the written word, and you have a series that needs to be on the screen, the big silver screen. The writer's word choices, his comedic timing and his characters' crazy take on reality are brilliant.
I'm not sure I can say Michael Lamendola's characters are maturing because these two losers keep winning with the worst odds, the worst skill sets and the worst luck any two guys playing private eye have ever had. I mean Sal is getter fatter, Buddy is getting more introspective and together they're getting into some very big trouble. You're reading along going "OhMyGod, don't do that!" when that is exactly what they do only with a far worse outcome than you could have imagined. I love that! This writer knows his characters (and his cars!) inside and out, and if you don't love them all by the time you finish reading Lamendola's Red Fox series, you're definitely dead and Sal and Buddy will be your pallbearers...pretty much.
What endears one to these two oddballs is the seriousness with which they take their assignments. Understand something: Sal and Buddy think they are professionals---and after all, their card says they do investigations. It doesn't say they are hilarious bottom feeders who take the jobs no one else would want. Heck, no one else would even call it a job! These so-called assignments usually involve someone wanting somebody else knocked off. But and Sal and Buddy have their standards. Nope, they simply aren't going to do it---not gonna get deadly. Then somebody is shot and Buddy's holding a weapon that's smoking like a badly built bonfire. Oops.
Lamendola's the master of the madcap, but he still manages to infuse his characters and their story with the kind of sensitive introspection that reveals our two losers have some tender feelings after all. Followed by a couple beers and a few loud burps.
Lamendola's at his best with the ordinary setup turned laugh-out-loud dialog from straight-faced protagonists who aren't trying to be funny. This book sees a bit more fleshing out of a character from earlier books, Ivan, the Russian mechanic, and Ivan's droll take on the ridiculous posing as ordinary is another Lamendola strength. We also get a new character, and I loved him. He's some kind of chemistry genius who cooks up some of the best drugs this side of Tijuana, but he's flighty, he's temperamental, he's so (wonderfully) fey. I can't wait for the next in this series. All Night Long Shot is Five Big Stars all day long!