The Bottom Line: A fast-paced comedic thriller that is both big-hearted and easy to love. Thanks to Montana Kane’s highly memorable voice and vision, Boomville, Colorado may be the new Fargo, Minnesota.
After being wounded in the line of duty, Detective Brandy Martini leaves crime-ridden Chicago for Colorado. But her dream to earn a comfortable living as a private investigator in a peaceful mountain town of 2600 people is short-lived. Having not yet achieved inner peace herself, she finds herself in a hilarious kerfuffle over the brand of detergent in a local laundromat.
If there’s a silver lining to finding herself in the local lockup so soon after moving to town, it’s that she meets her first client – a hippie named Babs whose son Lucas has gone missing. Ironically, having once pursued the murderous drug lords of Chicago, Brandy soon discovers that Lucas is a renowned weed grower.
The case is a far cry from the smack dealers she pursued in Chicago, but could Brandy find herself back in the middle of a drug war?
While aspects of Montana Kane’s voice and dialogue evoke Janet Evanovich, author Montana Kane’s characterization is far more nuanced, with a unique blend of darkness, action, levity, absurdity and psychedelic silliness. Distinctive from anyone else in the book landscape, Kane’s unique voice is far more reminiscent of the reigning masters of the cinematic comedic thriller, the Coen Brothers. Fans of The Big Lebowski will be right at home (there are more “dudes” per chapter in High Crimes than in any other book in recent memory). Kane’s depiction of the residents and bohemian mountain culture – where certain residents declare things as “atomic,” “solar” and “maximal” – is both endearing and addictive. In nearly every way, Kane’s Boomville is as culturally well-defined as the Coen Brothers’ Fargo.
It’s rare that a book both amuses and grips with suspense, but Kane manages to do both. Along the way, even Brandy’s inner musings often lead to highly quotable philosophy (“Things are what they are and what they are is mostly crap for a lot of people a lot of the time”). Let’s hope Kane has more adventures in store for Brandy.