A review of “One for the Money” by D.B. Borton

“One for the Money”

Recently widowed, Cat Caliban has lived through what our society deems a woman’s usual existence; daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, etc but now she wants to stretch her legs and expand her boundaries. What better way to accomplish that than by buying an apartment house in a rundown area of Cincinnati and deciding to hang out her shingle as a private investigator? Never mind that she lacks even the most basic knowledge and skills required to be a licensed P.I. That’s what the public library is for. When Cat finds one of her tenants has been stabbed to death with her own knife she considers it an omen that her new career choice is the right one for her and she sets out to catch herself a killer.

“One for the Money” is set in the mid-1980s and Cat’s personae is one of a middle-aged, salty tongued woman who could give any sailor a run for his money in the language department. She’s witty, sarcastic and an all ‘round hoot. And then there’s Cat’s close friends and family and the people she meets in the course of her investigation. All told, there are so many characters in this story that you need a program to keep track of who’s who. The plot is original but gets bogged down with unnecessary details and too many characters to keep track of. And who really cares what Cat is wearing? How and why is that important? It’s not as if she is a fashion plate showing off some designers creations. The significance of her wardrobe choices totally escapes me.

Where this novel shines is in the dialogue. Author D. B. Borton has either lived among the street people or spent lots of time studying the street vernacular because the dialogue is absolutely spot on in its authenticity and accuracy, including the dropped syllables. It’s as if you can actually “hear” the accents and the unique manner in which information is exchanged on the street. This aspect alone is sufficient to recommend “One for the Money” as a worthwhile and entertaining read.

Originally published in 1993, this and two other titles by Borton are being reissued this year.

My thanks to NetGalley and to author D. B. Borton for the privilege of previewing “One for the Money”. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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