The mystery and character development were so well written I could not put it down. As soon as I finished Dave Zeltserman's short story "Julius Katz Mysteries" I searched for more books from the author and bought this one. This once is great and once you do start reading them I promise you will be hooked!
Dave Zeltserman introduced us to the crime double act of Julius Katz and Archie with the stories `Julius Katz,' -which won a Shamus and a Derringer Award - and `Archie's Been Framed,' which was an Ellery Queen Magazine Readers Choice winner. Both were gems and fans of Katz and Archie will be more than somewhat chuffed to find that Zeltserman has produced a novel featuring our quirky heroes.
For those of you that don't know, Julius Katz is a modern day Sherlock Holmes with a touch of Doc Savage and a smattering of Nero Wolfe. He's also a bit of an idler, and a lot of a bon vivant, who can only be persuaded to take on a case when his funds start dwindling to nothing.
And, as Holmes had Watson, Julius Katz has a sidekick, called Archie, who is a new-fangled super computer that the ever dapper Katz wears as a tie pin.
At the start of the novel we find Julius short of cash after a run of bad luck at his regular poker games. Katz and Archie both suspect a new member of the poker group of cheating but have no way of proving it.
Archie, as ever, tries to convince Julius to take on any one of a number of high paying cases but Katz refuses. He is, however, is approached by Kenneth J Kingston, an arrogant crime writer who says that he wants to hire Julius to find out who is trying to kill him. This, in fact, turns out to be a publicity stunt to promote the writer's forthcoming novel and boost his waning career.
Archie is shocked and exasperated when Julius eventually agrees to take part in the stunt, although only after being offered an expensive bottle of wine as part of the payment.
I'll say no more but rest assured this is another zesty page turner choc full of smart twists, colourful characters and laugh out loud moments. Katz is a great creation and he and Archie, the heart of the book, are a smashing team.
5.0 out of 5 starsEminently satisfying and comfortable.
7 February 2018 - Published on Amazon.com
This book is an homage to classic mysteries, with a brilliant, puzzle-solving sleuth- Julius Katz- who is full of quirky and expensive habits. We also have an erstwhile and skeptical assistant, hostile police, pushy reporters, and a killer who wants to end the famed crime-solver. Fans of Nero Wolfe will be especially happy to see an assistant named Archie. Though not human, the narrator (and powerful) Archie is quite the foil to Katz's odd habits and methods of problem-solving, and even acts as the conscience of Katz, much like Jiminy Cricket. With the added benefit he can be turned off when he gets too annoying. But despite his vast resources, he cannot solve the crime the way Katz can, showing that the power of the human mind is supreme. We get the traditional "get the suspects in a room to go through the crime and their possible involvement" scenario. The high-living Katz navigates with style through possible motives and weak alibis to tease out the killer. Eminently satisfying and comfortable.
First of all, Dave Zeltserman's short story double-feature "Julius Katz Mysteries" kick-starts this new series. If you aren't already familiar with Julius and Archie from these two stories originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, you will want to start there, and as a bonus you can get them both together for less than a buck. "Julius Katz and Archie" picks right up from where those two stories left off with Julius Katz's first full-length mystery. Certainly if you are a fan of the previous, you will not be disappointed here. The series also owes heavily to the classic Nero Wolfe detective stories. I have to admit I'm not familiar with these, but after reading Julius Katz, as well as Anthony Neil Smith's similarly inspired "Choke on Your Lies," this is something I plan to correct. Needless to say I was able to enjoy these despite my ignorance. One thing I am sure sets Zeltserman's series apart is one very unique twist. The stories are told from Archie the side-kick's perspective. What is brilliant here is that Archie is not just any side-kick, but a super intelligent Artificial Intelligence unit which Julius keeps discreetly clipped to his tie. You really have to read these stories to believe it, but once you do you I promise you will be hooked!
5.0 out of 5 starsGREAT VARIATION ON THE NERO WOLFE SERIES!
8 July 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
I first became acquainted with Dave Zeltserman and his intriguing characters of Archie & Julius Katz through the short stories written for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. The stories are lighthearted and very engaging. In this variation of the Nero Wolfe series, Julius Katz is very fit, but still a highly intelligent man who loves his gourmet food and wine. Archie is actually a computer tie clip who also has the ability to scan the outside areas. This particular story, the first novel I have read, deals with the death of a client who hires Julius Katz to find out which of six people is plotting to murder him. Before the investigation can get started, the client is murdered, and then the fun really begins. Very well written and highly entertaining.
As a lover of all books old school detective, especially Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, I found Julius Katz and Archie to be a refreshing addition to the genre. Julius, like Nero is an armchair detective, preferring to use his intellect rather than beating the streets and roughing up suspects, Sam Spade style. His assistant is also named Archie, however this Archie is a free thinking, constantly neuron adjusting, computer chip worn as a tie clasp. The tales (there are more that I plan on getting to) are told by Archie. The similarities are close enough to Rex Stout that I felt a comfortable affinity right away, yet fresh enough with modern day technology to make the tale relevant. All in all, nicely done.
If you are a fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe, and are not afraid of a little fun, then this book is for you. It is a great pastiche of the famed detective. Archie, as the sidekick and narrator does a great job of telling a compelling story and lampooning Nero Wolfe. Julius Katz, nice double pun, has no time for orchids, is a physical fitness nut, leave his house regularly, makes a great detective. His faithful "leg man" Archie is just as good a sidekick as Archie Goodwin, but in a totally different way.