In this second installment of a series characterized by "offbeat humor and unflinching violence" (NTYBR), the eponymous and hapless detective Happy Doll returns with a new philosophy and a new case; "Hard-boiled PI fiction set in the present doesn’t get much better." (Publishers Weekly, STARRED)
Although badly scarred and down to his last kidney after the previous caper, Happy Doll is back in business. When a beguiling young woman turns up at his door, it’s Doll’s past that comes knocking. Mary DeAngelo is searching for her estranged mother, Ines Candle—a singular and troubled woman Doll once loved. The last he’d seen her she’d been near-death: arms slit like envelopes. Although she survived the episode, she vanished shortly thereafter. Now, years later, Mary claims Ines is alive and has recently made contact—messaging her on Facebook and calling her from a burner phone—only to disappear once again. Although his psychoanalyst would discourage it, Doll takes the case, desperate to see Ines again. But as the investigation deepens, there are questions he can’t shake. What’s led the flighty Ines to reappear? Is Mary only relaying half the truth? And who is Mary’s strange and mysterious husband? In this wholly original follow-up to A Man Named Doll, Happy travels through L.A., Washington, Oregon and back again—a journey that gets wilder and woolier with each turn. An irreverent and inventive mystery, The Wheel of Doll is not to be missed.
About the Author
Jonathan Ames is the author of I Pass Like Night; The Extra Man; What's Not to Love?; My Less Than Secret Life; Wake Up, Sir!; I Love You More Than You Know; The Alcoholic; The Double Life Is Twice as Good, and most recently, You Were Never Really Here (adapted into the acclaimed film starring Joaquin Phoenix). He's the creator of two television series, Blunt Talk and Bored to Death, and has had two amateur boxing matches, fighting as "The Herring Wonder."
“Hard-boiled PI fiction set in the present doesn’t get much better than Ames’s gritty and moving second novel featuring L.A. gumshoe Happy Doll (after 2021’s A Man Named Doll). . . The Raymond Chandler–esque plot is enhanced by superior prose. . . Devotees of Loren Estleman’s long-running PI Amos Walker series will hope Doll has a similarly enduring career.” —Publishers Weekly
“Jonathan Ames—no matter how dark or weird or uncomfortably personal the subject—has always been a fun writer to read.”—Lit Hub
Praise for A MAN NAMED DOLL
"I loved this book - it's quirky, edgy, charming, funny and serious, all in one. Very highly recommended."—Lee Child, #1 bestselling author of Blue Moon
"While the macabre seriousness of the crimes and the narrator’s good-nature and sardonic humor might seem to be at odds, Ames makes it work through assured plotting, superb local color, and excellent prose. Readers will happily root for Doll, a good detective and a decent human, in this often funny and grisly outing."—Publishers Weekly, Starred
“A MAN NAMED DOLL is so fun and propulsive I didn’t just read it in one sitting, I read it in what felt like a single breath. Happy Doll is a tremendously likable main character, and the Los Angeles he inhabits is vibrantly alive in every detail. I hope Jonathan Ames has many more adventures planned for the newest P.I. in town.”—Lou Berney, author of the New York Times-bestselling November Road
“If Elliott Gould’s Philip Marlowe landed in the middle of Uncut Gems, you’d have something like Jonathan Ames’s A MAN NAMED DOLL, which expertly mines the dark humor, mordant wit and dreamy fatalism of great LA noir. And at its center is a detective with a battered heart and bruised conscience. I’d follow him, and his dog George, anywhere.” Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Dare Me
“Readers expecting action won’t be let down, and the sparkling yet unpretentious language gives the whole an extra kick. Recommend to noir fans, action fans, anyone who likes a good read.” Booklist, Starred review