This first novel for Brian A. Hopkins features one Martin Zolotow, a rough hewn, ex-cop with a soft spot for well-turned ankles and a hard fist for nasty, bad guys. He's puppy-dog lovable and wild-animal rugged all in the same breath.
The story opens with Zolotow ("Zolo" to his friends and the ladies) painfully parting with his current lover, a young hooker he's taken off the streets, loved, and is putting on a plane that will send her back to an innocent life with her family. What he finds out immediately after her departure is that some rather creepy bad-guys are waiting to abscond him and whisk him away to... Oklahoma City!
Once in the Sooner state, Zolo's taken to a secluded stronghold somewhere in the OK panhandle, but not before he's recruited to rescue the daughter of a major crime figure. His incentive (besides just staying alive) is the young woman he had just put on the plane. He fails; she dies.
Put through his paces in this wild, action-packed adventure, Zolo battles both the members of the Licking Valley Coon Hunters Club (they're originally from Ohio and not native Oklahoman bad blood) and his own muddled memory, an affliction that is at once his Achilles heel and a strange endearing quality. He's beaten with a ball bat, dragged through cow manure, chased, and shot at, but never totally thwarted because the poetry-spouting detective's acerbic wit and undaunting sense of what's right makes him too driven to stay down. Oh, and also some very lovely women come to his aid.
Mix in a snarling dog, a gaunt bad-guy in a wheelchair, some women who can handle both being sexy in bubble baths and in employing martial arts kicks--oh, and vampires!--and the action is non-stop!
Hopkins takes the reader on a wild romp with sure ease in his knowledge of weapons, chemistry, and women. Yet it's Zolo's revealing himself as kindhearted as Joe R. Lansdale's Hap Collins (and just as unlucky!) and as blindly chivalrous as John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee that make Zolo a whole new breed of hero, the kind who would attack a windmill on a seatless motorcycle in a tiger print bikini brief to save a lady! But that's another adventure all together.