Friday, June 3, 2011

Nursery Rhyme Noir--The Hasp Deadbolt Files

Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel

Do you like 'Mother Goose'? Are you into fairy tales? Can you enjoy a slightly clichéd (and sometimes deadbeat) P.I. going about his business?

If you answer any of the above with a yes, you might want to get your hands on a copy of David C. Kopaska-Merkel's 'Nursery Rhyme Noir', a collection of short stories chronicling the adventures…and misadventures of Deadbolt, Hasp Deadbolt, private eye.

In these pages you will find assorted murder of fruit and fowl, of vegetable and vermin, marriage and love affairs, and eggs. Oh, also comedy, you know.

Kopaska-Merkel lets Hasp tell us his stories in his own words, so they read like reports of some of the strangest cases you might find on bookshelves. The author borrows from nursery rhymes and fairy tales, obviously, but he brings new and…bloody twists into the game which make rediscovering all those well known rhymes and tales all the more fun. The sort of humor you will encounter is black, and dry. Oh, and there are puns also. Along with short sentences and Hasp saying what he's thinking. With all the gore already in play, I really don't know what more to ask for.

It might be a given that there is no detective story without a woman. Well, there are several that cross paths with Deadbolt. Mrs. Dish for example, who attempts to run away with a spoon; Natalia Nimble, who is also smoking hot; Miss Susie, Tiny Tim's mother, whom Hasp manages to help not only in the matter of recovering her baby, but also in matters of the heart. Of course there is Easter Bun, a tragic story, this one, and it will leave Deadbolt a changed man, one who might just settle down with girlfriend/fiancée Alma. But if you are holding your breath for some sort of romantic wedding scene, do not get your hopes up: this is not Shakespeare, this is Kopaska-Merkel and there is plenty of murder and foul play.

For instance, Hasp solves the case behind Humpty Dumpty's fall. Also, the three blind mice's killer is brought to justice and so is the wolf, to name only a few of the felons within these pages.

The stories can be read as stand-alone, though throughout the book we do get glimpses at Deadbolt's private life, especially since he is always on the job and never fails to heed a call of duty; even a…quaint picnic with Alma can easily turn into a case of finding lost sheep.

Now picking a favorite from this collection of pastry-esque tales is a nigh impossible task. How can you not like a story with a passionfruit vine that goes all the way up to a place in the clouds where a pretty (duh) giantess lives? And this farm at St. Ives owned by Mr. Bean and his seven wives (a very feline tale that will challenge your mathematical proficiency)! Anything with talking vegetable should be worth mentioning to a strict vegetarian like myself, really.

Instead, I will advise you--yes you!--Dear Reader, to come to your own conclusions. It is what Hasp Deadbolt would do.

ISBN: 978-09821068-3-9 (published by Sam's Dot Publishing: