"Tramp Stamp" the banner read. I had to check it out.
It's a moral failing of mine. I like jokes that go too far and puns that make you groan. I also like hard-boiled, tough as nails detective novels and here, at Comic-Con, was a little bit of both. A throwback crime series called 'The Skinvestigator' that started off with a book titled Tramp Stamp.
There was no way I wasn't going to stop.
At the table was series author, Terry Cronin. Cronin copped to pimping pulp. El Cheapo crime quickies. Wham-bam-whodunits. He hawked hard. He sold and signed. He slung his ink and I got Tramp Stamp-ed. I read it whole in a single sitting. It got under my skin. I had an itch that only Cronin could scratch. I picked up a little Rash Guard that morning next. I read it on the flight home. A single sitting sequel.
Here's the Skinvestigator skinny.
The main man is Dr. Harry Poe, dermatologist, detective, demi-asshole. Works out of Miami. His is a life of sunshine and skin cancer. Tan lines and tumors. He’s got a practice, a wife, a life and a hobby: the cops hit him up for a little 411 whenever there’s skin in the game.
Tramp Stamp starts with a tat. Rash Guard, the clap. Both end in murder by way of Venezuela. Go figure.
Scratch that, go read the books.
Cronin wrote them cheap. Six bucks cheap. Starbucks cheap. Crime or coffee in a paper sleeve.
Cronin wrote them quick. They run. They rush. They race like the horse you should have bet in the third. Fast. Blink and it’s over.
Cronin wrote them Florida fiction. Sunshine noir. Think MacDonald and Leonard. Think Hiaasen and Dorsey. Think odd plots with a touch of truth.
They’re formula. Murder! Flash Back! Skin Care! The End!
They’re mish-mash. Tattoos and boob jobs. Models and black mail. Murder and syphillus.
They’re worth a once over. Probably a twice over. Ought to be stitched together into one book with a Venezuelan comb over.
My advice? They’re alright. Try them. You’ll like them.
See you in the funny pages.