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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Cooks, Crooks and Colt: This Investigator Serves up Results (A Harmon Colt Thriller)is a private detective story written by Kem Roy Neal. Harmon Colt was an up-and-coming L.A. chef until his personal life fell apart. He's now a private eye who lives in an abandoned restaurant which he shares with Groovy, his old culinary arts professor and good friend. Colt's been retained by a restaurateur to find Zoe, his girlfriend, who's also an employee at his restaurant. Colt's search for the missing woman lands him in hot water with the Feds, a young man who's frantically looking for Zoe, and his ex-fiancee, Carla, who seems to have become mentally deranged and somewhat scary since they last met. Then there's the mob, who also have vested interests in finding Zoe.
Cooks, Crooks and Colt is a top-of-the-line, hard-boiled private investigator mystery. It's beautifully planned and plotted with a great premise, an engaging main character, and a first-rate supporting crew. We're talking the likes of Spenser for Hire mixed with Lovejoy, with a dash of pepper and salt added in and, oh yes, a hefty dose of Hammett. My mystery-loving nerves started thrumming as I began reading this book, and they didn't stop until I finished the last page. Neal's private eye is tough, resourceful and a force to contend with, both on the streets of L.A. and in the kitchen. He straddles these two very tough and frenetic professions with ease, humor and not a little bit of help from both his culinary and law enforcement friends and colleagues. This could be the start of an amazingly good new detective series -- I certainly hope so.