The Neal Barrett, Jr. Off-the-Wall Trilogy




The Neal Barrett, Jr. Off-the-Wall Trilogy

By Neal Barrett, Jr.

Three complete novels in one volume from a master of dark noir and comic mystery…


Russell Murray is the editor of a literary magazine in Chicago. He drinks way too much. And he’s in big trouble when he wakes up in a hotel room with a beautiful woman just before two men come into the room and kill her. They try to kill Murray, too, but he gets away. Things never slow down after that.

Wanted for murder, Murray winds up in a detox center in Wisconsin. He escapes along with a beautiful redhead named Sherry Lou Wynn. One of his many problems is that he has no memory of where he’s been or what he’s done. He and Sherry Lou try to stay alive while being pursued around the country by homicidal goons, including the murderous Wacker twins and a blue-haired, tennis-shoe wearing granny with an Uzi. Bones Pinelli wants his briefcase back, by golly, and he doesn’t care who dies as long as he gets it.


Nothing ever happens in Pharaoh, Texas…

Drunks and missing auto parts headline the local crime wave until a barking dead dog shows up in millionaire Max Coomer’s backyard. Then Coomer himself is discovered frosty cold and very dead, running for fame and glory forever down the gridiron at Pharaoh High.

That’s just the beginning of the mayhem that erupts in a sleepy Texas town — and the start of temporary constable Jack Track’s nightmarish pursuit of a maniac who doesn’t like anyone in Pharaoh, Texas.

There are enough bizarre characters in Dead Dog Blues to convince any reader to steer clear of small towns. There’s Jack’s best friend, Earl Murphy, a black man who made a fortune on Wall Street and sleeps in his white Aston-Martin Lagonda by Jack’s creek. There’s George, the catfish mogul, and cheery funeral director Eddie Trost —plus an ever-growing cast of the local missing and dead.

Jack is content with lovely Cecily Benét, the frozen-yogurt queen, until Max Coomer’s widow, Millie Jean, decides to fan the flames of her high-school romance with Jack — an affair that turns into double trouble when Millies jailbait daughter, Smoothy, takes a run at Jack herself.


Dinner with gorgeous aeronautical engineer Claire de Mer holds the promise of heavenly bliss for Wiley Moss — until two manic mobsters toss him on a cross-country bus and shuffle him off to Idaho. Hey, no big deal. All Vinnie “Spuds” DeMarco wants from Wiley, who earns his living making illustrations of insects for the Smithsonian Institution, is “semi-decent pitchas — no smut — “of his eighteen resident cuties, naturally named the Spudettes. Nice work if you can get it, only Wiley can’t seem to find the time for romance and art. Someone’s knocking off the hoods at the Mount Vincent High Country Lodge and Whitewater Resort — someone with an attitude who wants everybody dead.

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