Close your eyes.
Now picture your first appointment with
a private detective from the hard boiled school. I don't care
who you conjure—Marlowe, Spade, Hammer, Milodragovitch—we're all
holding hands with the setting, personal hygiene, and attitude
of this canonized shamus. Now put your world-weary PI in his fedora
and trenchcoat, one hand fisting a bottle of bourbon, the other
a .38, leaning back on a scarred desk full of unpaid bills and
the pillow he sleeps on at night. Go ahead and add the mental spasms
of a Silver Star-studded Gulf War nightmare and the still-pined-for
dame back home going from Prom Queen to Pole Dancer to Bye-Bye.
Now fill in the peripherals like a resident pass to the VA psycho
zone, a cashmere-coated client who's not quite like us, strong-arming
porn stars and sleazeball producers for clues and pointers, and
sniffing around satanic ritual sets looking for backroom deals.
Okay, now think up the most celebrated battle between
mythical forces. I'm not talking Ali wearing down Foreman here.
I'm saying think wider than Grendel's ass after he's beaten with
his own, torn-off arm, and taller than a pile of dead Orcs when
Gondor verses Mordor finally winds down.
See, this is the slaughterfest
between God's process server and the “office
manager in Hades” (Fiction
Works, ISBN 9781581247176, c.2002, p.123).
Stir this anagogic brew with cars that won't start, pizza for breakfast,
lunch, and dinner, constant rain, witnesses that lie, unwanted flashbacks,
unresolved guilt, unrequited love, enemies that won't die, and victims
that laugh when you kill them.
That's Drago Descending.
It's 189 pages of pure, neo-noir joy; a quick throw-down
on the sullied, mean streets. A primer, really, and an honorarium
to the past, posted with author Gifune's unique genre cross-stitching.
Supernatural Horror? Hard-Boiled Crime? Or, a memoir from a guy
sitting on the ward, watching lizards crawl the walls? “Faith, essentially, is our
last line of defense” (p.125), says one character, summing it up.
Or is that summoning it up?