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Ride The Lightning - John Lutz A condemned man's fiance hires St. Louis PI Alo Nudger to prove his innocence. But is he really innocent? That's what Nudger aims to find out. Too bad the clock is ticking and he has less than a week...

Here we are, the fourth installment of John Lutz's Alo Nudger series. Nudger is not your average detective. He's not a hit with the ladies. He's terrified of damn near everything. He throws up at crime scenes and constantly chews antacids. I guess that's why he interests me so much.

In this case, like the others, Nudger takes a shit kicking but keeps on keeping on. I have to admit that Lutz really pulled the wool over my eyes in this one. I love a solveable mystery that I can't crack before the detective character does and Lutz gave it to me here.

As in all the Nudger books, the St. Louis locale is almost a character, much like the New York Lawrence Block crafts for the Matthew Scudder series. I always wind up comparing the two for some reason. I guess because neither detective is a super hero but both always manage to get the job done. Nudger's personal life hits some speed bumps in this one and I felt bad for the poor shlub, like I always do. I wonder how much of Alo Nudger is actually John Lutz.

The supporting cast, both the recurring ones like Claudia and Hammersmith, and the newbs like Candy Ann and the Colt family, really help drive the story along. Like I said, Lutz caught me napping on this one and I thank him for it. For what it is, I can't help but give it four stars.