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Bruce Deitrick Price puts a new spin on the all-American, sexy, fast-talking detective story by creating a truly fresh crime-fighter personality and placing his original P.I. character, Jon Dak, among movers and shakers in the NYC art and fashion world. In this Wild West era of 1980’s urban wantonness, when city crime is at an all-time high, and the police can’t keep up, trouble strikes home for the showy Sutton family; father, mother, and son a dysfunctional trio of elitists caught in the swaggering updraft of pricey art dealing, glamour-girl modeling, drug smuggling, murder, and kidnapping.
Within this 80s-proof cocktail of dash and danger, Price mixes clashing personalities. A former jock, high school football player turned private eye, wholesome, sophomoric, charming Dak swims in the same glass with the culturally-sophisticated, artsy Suttons, who vie against each other to best exploit him as a red-blooded foil for their left-handed ambitions.
However smart, the Suttons misjudge his integrity and ability as a natural tracker, seasoned in a dark canyon city of millions, to set traps for bad actors. All business, civilized and masculine, as pandemonium builds, Dak’s cool, street-guy pedigree enables him to sift through misleading evidence and wrong turns, including a murder with no alibi, no sequence of events, no cover story for the death, no evidence of deception, and no apparent flaws in the perpetrator’s planning, as he systematically prepares his demolition act for the perfect crime.
More than the sum of its parts, Art and Beauty is a vital American detective story; the action adeptly driven by Bruce Price based on his many years living and working in the art and fashion districts of Manhattan, where he learned the language of the street, knew of informal restaurants where people met unobserved and left by the backdoor, and experienced the mad-dash of cab rides between downtown and uptown districts; the author’s choice of big city crime setting nuanced with the gritty flavor of a local police hunt, minus today’s bureaucracy, jurisdictional conflicts, and nondescript tactical squads.
Jon Dak, private eye, runs unbridled as a lone wolf investigator, authorized to chase his outlaws, shoot when necessary, and defend truth with two-fisted honor.