MYSTERY

A Man Named Doll

Mulholland: Little, Brown. Apr. 2021. 224p. ISBN 9780316703659. $27. M
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Happy Doll, known as Hank, is a PI and former LAPD cop who moonlights as security for the women who work at the Thai Miracle Spa. He considers himself nuts and tries to maintain his equilibrium by self-medicating, but things get nuttier when a friend who once saved his life, Lou Shelton, asks him for a kidney. Hank is understandably reluctant until an incident at the spa causes him to reconsider. A woman who works there is assaulted by a hulking customer high on meth; the man attacks Hank with a knife, and Hank is forced to kill him. Hank’s injured, and Lou’s a dying man by the time he reaches Hank again. He’s been shot, and leaves Hank with a stolen diamond. Hank only makes things worse by taking drugs on top of painkillers before trailing after the gunman who shot Lou. Before a resolution, Hank and his bartender friend Monica are kidnapped to use their bodies for organ donations; Hank’s beloved dog is poisoned; and Hank has screwed up everything.
VERDICT The latest by Ames (You Were Never Really Here), creator of the television shows Bored to Death and Blunt Talk, is recommended only for those who want to read a dark novel featuring the adventures of a messed-up PI, high on drugs, who endangers himself with every stupid action.

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