The Last Invasion (The Second Sam Truman Mystery)
by Brandon Zuern
Abattoir Press (2012)
I might have known that the folks behind the Sam Truman series would flip the script with the second installment, switching from a decidedly fantasy-oriented story in Catch My Killer to the pulpy sci-fi pastiche of The Last Invasion. Who needs ghosts and zombies when you can have little green men.
Sam Truman, the hard knocks private eye, is still barely making ends meet with a father and mother step into his office imploring him to find their daughter. The teenage beauty had recently taken up with a greasy-haired biker and the leather-clad reprobate was the last one to see her. Truman takes the case and soon finds himself on the hunt for more than a missing daughter, as a peculiar band of soda-guzzlers may be behind the shenanigans.
The Last Invasion is a little punchier and a little pulpier than Catch My Killer, and you may not consider that a compliment, but I do when it comes to the Sam Truman character. He's a tongue-in-cheek send up of the hard-boiled heroes of yesteryear, set in a zany universe that seems set to reveal itself in a weirdly wonderful way with each unfolding adventure.
It's a story that could have careened into incredulity, but managed to keep things moving straight enough and fast enough to keep me engaged the whole way through. It lends itself as an introduction to Sam Truman as much as the first novella did, so feel free to test the waters with either book if you feel so inclined.
I already have the third and fourth installments in the series on my Kindle, and I look forward to checking them out in due time.