When the opportunity came up for me to review the new book by Jim Nesbitt, I grabbed at the chance. I mean we are doppelgangers after all. Nesbitt’s “The Best Lousy Choice” is the third in his self-published Ed Earl Burch series, a Dallas PI who used be a cop and now skirts the line between good and bad. Nesbitt wraps the reader in a world that most are unfamiliar with. At the beginning of the book, it was late at night sometime around the early ’90s, a World War II vet rides his horse up a mountain switchback to spy on the goings-on in his cousin’s land.
The rider felt the horse rise underneath him in a crow hop toward the rocky edge of the trail, a barely seen boundary with nothing beyond but a free-fall into a black void. He checked the hop, gritting his teeth as he closed the door on the wayward move by pressing his left leg into the horse’s flank while cueing him to move forward, not sideways, with reins and body.
I was a little lost, but immediately hooked. Here I was a reader in a strange land and excited that in some ways was reading my first Western since my childhood.*
Throughout “The Best Lousy Choice”, Nesbitt straddles multiple genres as he sees fit whether its Westerns, PI stories, Military, or Rogue Cop. All of taking from one to give to the other moves this action-packed story along at a frantic pace. Nesbitt writes stories about hard men, harder women, and menacing times–stories I couldn’t help but wonder were stories that Michael Connolly wished he could write.
I could have done without the dream sequences or the many flashbacks, but damn this was a good Border Noir story there filled with gunslingers, crooked cops, and men who would shoot you just to watch you die. Imagine a pill-popping John Wayne setting things “right” for a sizeable paycheck and the adrenaline of danger.
*I was confused in the beginning because in my mind I had placed the story in today’s world when it was mentioned earlier in the Author’s Note that the book took place in the late ’80s / early ’90s. But I persevered.