Mystery fans, please remove your hats and bow your heads for the passing of a great detective - Flap Tucker, Zen detective, seems to be no more. After four charming, funny and intriguing mysteries(and one alarmingly ill-tempered and pissy one), starring the mysterious and easy-going finder of lost things and set in Atlanta, Georgia author Phillip Depoy seems to have laid Flap to rest.
But enough of the boohooing, boys and girls, because Depoy has rewarded those of us who stuck around after the lights went down with a new hero, one who is much like Flap, but somehow more mature and insightful, while maintaining the former detective's flummoxed charm.
Fever Devilin hails from another part of Georgia, the beautiful and spooky Appalachian Mountains. Fever has been living in self-imposed exile in Atlanta, which is physically only a few hours' drive from the mountains, but is on another planet ideologically. In this first adventure we find him returning home to find a corpse on his front porch, one that turns out to be his half-brother. Fever decides to investigate, but has been gone from his tight-knit and close-mouthed community that he is now considered an outsider and can barely get an answer from his friends and neighbors.
Depoy's characters, as always, are delightfully complex. They are true to themselves and their motivations, even as they are sometimes frustratingly obtuse. The relationship between Fever and his best friend, Skidmore, is a realistic portrayal of two friends, long separated, picking up where they left off, with warmth, trepidation and eventual trust. Fever himself is a worthy successor to Flap.
Depoy writes the Appalachians like he lives them, bringing life to the dark, smoky woods and guiding us through with a tracker's eye. I look forward to the next Fever Devilin mystery.