ART AND BEAUTY / COMMENTARY
EDITOR OF WEB-E-BOOKS:
WHY WE LIKE BRUCE'S BOOK:
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.
PREPUB REVIEW BY LITERARY TITAN:
Art and Beauty follows detective Jon Dak, a likable protagonist and private investigator. The story unfolds in a Soho art gallery, where Dak acts as a security guard on the night of an exhibition. It doesn’t take long for the detective to put his skills into action over the gallery’s owner and her soon-to-be ex-husband. A host of other intriguing characters fill the plot of this fast-paced, engaging story, including the gallery owner’s son, Dak’s friends in the police force, and his level-headed girlfriend, Katie. The fascinating and complex characters are highly entertaining, especially in the well-drawn and alluring backdrop of New York City’s world of glamour and modeling.
The story gains momentum as Dak becomes extremely cautious within a reckless and unpredictable society where he must face drugs, smuggling, kidnapping, and murder. I enjoyed how the plot grew more intense as Dak went to great lengths to protect himself while trying to solve the case. The narration is consistent, easy to follow, and gripping. His short phrases and blunt demeanor capture Dak’s crisp and easy manner.
Art and Beauty by Bruce Price is a worthwhile read with a rich and exciting plot and characters that readers will enjoy following. It’s a riveting crime fiction novel that will keep you turning one page after another, with gripping action and plot twists from beginning to end.