The rocket scientist used to ride a Harley. He made up his mind to sell it after an accident involving both of us which was too embarrassing to write about here. Suffice it to say, it happened in our driveway (nobody in the neighborhood was watching, we checked) and resulted in major neck surgery for the rocket scientist to prevent him from becoming a quadriplegic.
I poke fun at the rocket scientist because he’s not always the brightest rocket scientist at the bomb factory, but I love him dearly and he’s always been good to me. I introduced him to an author I had seen in an online interview who writes the sort of crime fiction/adventure Florida has become famous for, and the kind the rocket scientist loves to read.
Back in May, I mentioned this author whom I think is quite clever, Tim Baker. He had a short story contest and published one of the stories in the back of one of his books that the rocket scientist was reading. It made me laugh out loud. It also warmed my heart to see an author actively promoting the work of other authors. You can read about that here and get links to purchase all of his books.
After hearing a few excerpts from Tim Baker’s books, I was hooked and convinced that I needed to read all of them. There were six at that time. I immediately saw the rocket scientist’s appeal in this author and his characters. Eyewitness Blues is his latest full length novel.
I have had the pleasure of reading all seven of Tim Baker’s full-length novels and loved them all. Like all of them, this is a character-driven story. I do think Eyewitness Blues is one of the best. Like many, I have fallen in love with his iconic character. “Ike” is a Harley-riding, down-to-earth, charismatic, ex-Navy Seal who works for Ralph Donebedian. Quickly becoming my favorite anti-hero, Ike is compassionate and honorable, but is quite capable of eliminating threats any way that becomes necessary. Ike says it best, “I always remember my friends…but my enemies never forget me.” Ralph, a wheelchair-bound bookie, Ike, and their “associates” deliver their own brand of justice in the seaside village of Flagler Beach, Florida.
In this novel, a terribly depressed young man, Martin Aquino, has become entangled with a mob boss in Rhode Island. His life sucks and he is at his wit’s end when he decides to report witnessing a murder to get enrolled in the witness protection program. Baker draws his characters with a deft hand and we see early on why Martin has to make the choices he does. In an action-packed series of events, Martin ends up on Ike’s boat, The Knight’s Mare, in St. Augustine. Almost immediately, Martin senses his life has turned around for the best…but has it? There is so much more yet to come.
Martin’s not always so bright, but that’s okay, Ike has his back! There’s a whole other cast of colorful characters in Flagler Beach for the mob to deal with. If you are looking for a fun read that will keep you turning pages just to see what craziness is going to happen next, this book is a great choice. There is a rare hilarity to the antics of Ike and his “associates” that is certain to keep you entertained.
5 of 5 Stars
An Added Bonus:
If, like many us, you quickly fall in love with Ike, there is an even newer book, a collection of short stories written by Tim Baker and a select few talented authors that tell all about what Ike does to keep himself busy between his full length novels. It’s a fun collection that can either introduce you to Ike and his Flagler Beach associates, or give you a little more to hold onto while you’re waiting for that next full-length novel. Contributors are: Rebecca Heishman, Susan M. Toy, Gi Arena, Anne Marie Vancas, L.F. Young, and Becky M. Pourchot. This is another book you will want to pick up. Your’s truly wrote the Foreword to Path of a Bullet and Seumas Gallacher wrote this blurb:
There are plenty of heroes in the world of crime-fiction, each with their own personality and style.
Ike has earned a seat at that table, but, being Ike, he prefers to find his own table…and let others sit with him.
A former US Navy SEAL, Ike’s current position as an enforcer for a local bookie often puts him in close contact with an element of society most of us fortunately never see. These encounters usually lead to trouble and Ike routinely inserts himself at the center of it all to make sure innocent people aren’t hurt. Ike has a tendency to…shall we say…bend some of the rules…and even break a few on occasion, but his moral compass is always strong and true.
It’s this very behavior that has readers of Tim Baker’s novels calling him “Robin Hood on a Harley” or “…an off-white knight in shining armor.”
Path of a Bullet explodes from the barrel with the first tale about Ike’s encounter with a not-so-scrupulous Santa and follows a deadly trajectory until it hits a bull’s-eye with a Thanksgiving story that has Ike questioning his purpose in life.
Ike dispenses justice at a rapid-fire pace until the only danger in Flagler Beach is a traffic jam on A1A.