Down for the count

Title: Down for the Count (Toby Peters #10)

Author: Stuart Kaminsky

Published: 1985

Category: Mystery – Private Detective

Rating: 3½ out of 5

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Purchase: Amazon | Amazon Kindle

Private eye Toby Peters follows boxing as much as the next guy, but he never expected to encounter heavyweight champion Joe Louis this way: covered with blood and standing on a deserted beach next to the corpse of Peters’s ex-wife’s husband. The champ is innocent, but he has something to hide, and Toby agrees to protect the Brown Bomber from the police and the press.

Following up on names he gets from the dead man’s address book, Peters soon finds himself in Reed’s gym, embroiled in a sensational fight scam that may ring the final bell for him. Bruised and battered, Peters meets up with an overzealous Santa Monica cop with a special fondness for the L.A. phone book, a sleazy boxing manager with lousy taste in suits, and a trio of ham-fisted heavies who remind him of the Three Stooges. Along with his ragtag band of friends and assistants, Peters follows a bloody trail of deception that leads full circle, to the same deserted beach and some startling revelations.

Down for the Count is an audiobook I picked up as kind of a filler read. It’s pretty short, running 5 hours and 32 minutes, and even though there are several fight scenes and a little blood, it’s a light, fun mystery. The story is set in LA in the 1940s and there’s some name dropping and references to rationing sugar and possibly gas due to the war. Actually, I found the war-time added a bit of interest to the story. Joe Louis had enlisted in the army, and even though he never saw combat, his army schedule and exhibition bouts played into the story line. The signs on the beach and the one air raid scene showed that California was afraid of the Japanese bombing the coast or invading.

Toby Peters is one of those private investigators who always seems to be in a little over his head. This time around, his client is Joe Louis, but his real interest in the case is due to his ex-wife who he still seems to carry a bit of a flame for. I like how Toby does his best, puts up a good fight, asks questions even when maybe he shouldn’t. He’s not brilliant, but he is dogged. He keeps going even when the bodies start piling up, which they tend to do in this series

Down for the Count has a quick-moving plot was a twist I didn’t see coming. At one point, we know that Toby knows who the killer is, he’s seen him, but still only refers to him as “the killer,” not giving us a name, and I have to admit that I was surprised by who the culprit was, but then he ends up dead anyway. It’s a little tangled up, in a good way.

The three books I’ve read in this series could all work as stand-alones, which is nice cause I’m reading/listening to them out of order at this point. Even though this one centers around boxing, I enjoyed it and had no trouble following it. Needless to say, I’m not much of a boxing fan and no absolutely nothing about boxing in the 40s. I had heard of Joe Louis before, but didn’t much, if anything, about him.

Toby Peters Mysteries

  1. Bullet for a Star 
  2. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road
  3. You Bet Your Life
  4. The Howard Hughes Affair
  5. Never Cross a Vampire
  6. High Midnight
  7. Catch a Falling Clown
  8. He Done Her Wrong
  9. The Fala Factor
  10. Down for the Count
  11. The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance
  12. Smart Moves
  13. Think Fast, Mr. Peters
  14. Buried Caesars
  15. Poor Butterfly
  16. The Melting Clock
  17. The Devil Met a Lady
  18. Tomorrow Is Another Day
  19. Dancing in the Dark
  20. A Fatal Glass of Beer
  21. A Few Minutes Past Midnight
  22. To Catch a Spy
  23. Mildred Pierced
  24. Now You See It

Challenge: WAYR

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