Noted critic Jon Breen has this to say about LOVE, DEATH AND THE TOYMAN in the May 2007 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine:
"Jack Lorentz, a Tacoma-based collectible toy dealer, is asked by an old lover to look into a mysterious death on the property of her husband's wealthy and influential family. The first novel from the longtime fanzine editor known as Cap'n Bob is a commendable job, including surprising variations on familiar hardboiled elements: the rocky romance, the dysfunctional rich, and the hero's loyal but somewhat unstable sidekick."
Now, if just 1% of EQMM's readers buy the book, I'll be happy as a clam.
I wonder when that element Jon refers to as the sidekick actually started. I'm guessing Robert B. Parker's Hawk was the first of any consequence, although I'm just pulling this off the top of my head. But Mike Hammer, Mike Shayne, Dan Turner, Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, etc. were loners. Nowadays it's more common (think Coben's, Burke's, and Lehane's books for starters) for the hero to have an ally/friend who's basically a homicidal maniac. Waldo, the sidekick in my novel, isn't like that, and I should point out that I started this book a long time ago, before any of the others I mentioned hit the scene.
On another note, I have my first signing lined up. I hope everyone who can be in Seattle on St. Paddy's Day, March 17, will drop by the Seattle Mystery Bookshop (117 Cherry St.) and say hey.