AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://ds-df.com/
PUBLISHED: March 30, 2019 (Self-published)
GENRE: Science Fiction, Humor
Michael Duckett is fed up with his life. His job is a drag, and his roommate and best friend of fifteen years, Stephanie Dyer, is only making him more anxious with her lazy irresponsibility. Things continue to escalate when they face the threat of imminent eviction from their palatial 5th floor walk-up and find that someone has been plastering ads all over the city for their Detective Agency.
The only problem is: He and Stephanie don’t have one of those.
Despite their baffling levels of incompetence, Stephanie eagerly pursues this crazy scheme and drags Michael, kicking and screaming, into the fray only to find that they are way out of their depth. They stumble upon a web of missing people that are curiously linked to a sexually audacious theoretical physicist and his experiments with the fabric of space-time. And unless Michael and Stephanie can put their personal issues aside and fix the multi-verse, the concept of existence itself may, ironically, no longer exist.
“Because when nothing really matters…then everything matters.”
Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire is a brilliant blend of science fiction and snarky comedy, just oozing with laugh-out-loud humor and sarcasm. Set in a bustling city very reminiscent of modern day Manhattan, we’re dropped into a seemingly normal world of workplace cubicles, laundromats, and five-story walk-ups, but that all changes very quickly. Following a trail of lightning strikes and the stench of lingering ozone, we find ourselves tumbling through the multi-verse in hopes of solving a mystery; one that if left unsolved, could destroy all. Once you begin to peel away the layers of banter and wit, there’s a truly touching tale of family and friendship hidden within. This is a story of righting wrongs, surviving alongside the consequences of your actions, and seeking the means to change the past, regardless of the painful journey of the finding the truth.
This book is packed to the brim with sensational and strange happenings, including the elusive and enigmatic Sticky Note Specter, multi-verse hopping via exploding persons and tears in the space-time continuum, and people mysteriously disappearing without rhyme or reason – and this is just in the “real” universe. Once we make our way to alternate universes, we’re met with knights riding atop their trusty giant rabbits, territorial man-eating hamburgers (you read that correctly), cubist cowboys, and eyeball-laden minotaurs. This book gets more curious and glorious with each chapter, and it’s such a treat to read. Clever writing and a plot that twists and turns left me guessing until the final moments. My only criticism is that the ending felt a bit rushed to me, and it may have been more conducive to experience events through the eyes of a different character.
Speaking of characters, Michael Duckett and Stephanie Dyer are two of the most relatable and, for lack of a better word, familiar characters I’ve read in a long while. Duckett, a strait-laced slave of the corporate world, suffering from social anxiety, and struggling to make ends meet. Dyer, a charismatic, yet nihilistic couch potato, who coasts through life on the coattails of others. They’re polar opposites, but balance each other beautifully, and have been the best of friends since childhood. Their relationship is one that feels so genuine, one of loyalty, each always willing to protect the other, despite the disapproval and hurt simmering beneath the surface – a relationship that transcends friendship, and into the realm of family. The quips, the anger and resulting guilt, the heart-to-hearts, all of these things make these characters feel so real, and I love them to pieces. In addition to our faux P.I.s, the other point of view we’re introduced to is that of Detective Rex Calhoun, a very Roger Murtaugh-esque “hard-boiled” detective, who’s just too old for this shit. Always finding himself in the most inopportune circumstances, at the most inopportune times, he’s the lawful stabilization to the chaotic mess known as Duckett & Dyer, and such a wonderful addition to the story.
Nair has infused this story with such a magnificently organic, (relatively) clean, and oftentimes nostalgic humor that I rarely come across in any genre. The deadpan buddy comedy, unexpected and amusing one-liners, and back-and-forth bickering had me cackling like a fool throughout. Let me set up a scene for you: Duckett & Dyer are being arrested for falsely identifying themselves as licensed private investigators. Dyer exclaims, “I want a lawyer! Is Dick Wolf an attorney? I want Executive Producer Dick Wolf! Am I being detained?” I immediately made the Law & Order ‘dun dun’ sound, laughed myself to tears, then Googled how to spell the sound in preparation for this review (opinions differ greatly). I can’t tell you how many of these I came across, forcing me to put the book down just to regain my composure. Discovering these amazing trinkets sits towards the top of the list of the most satisfying aspects of this book.
I initially went into this book expecting weird and snark, and I happily got that and then some. Nair has created something superbly unique, filled with a refreshing level of creativity rarely seen, making this story tons of fun from the first page of the prologue through the last page of the epilogue. Beautiful character dynamics and unrivaled humor dominate this sci-fi/comedy/mystery mash-up, and the only way to truly appreciate this endeavor is to give it a read yourself. Although this is a standalone, I definitely wouldn’t mind spending more time with Michael and Stephanie in the future. If you’re looking for a whole lot of laughs, and are willing to roam through strange worlds filled with fantastical blood-thirsty creatures, then Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire is just what you need.
Note: A huge thank you to the author, G.M. Nair, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.