Dave White's got seven very satisfying Jackson Donne stories in his new collection from Needle Publishing.
White reminds me a lot of Robert B. Parker. Both have a gift for dialogue and write with effortless confidence. Both possess a strong sense of setting--White's New Jersey and Parker's Boston. Both have created a memorable, likable, and flawed private investigator. One significant difference between Spenser and Donne is that Donne is still figuring out how to be a PI, which lends itself to different and more realistic conflicts.
In a recent post at Paul Brazill's blog, White said he's more interested in the PI character than in whodunit puzzles. Instead, White constructs plots that force Donne to make difficult choices and split his loyalties. The results are natural, engaging plots that are driven by the characters.
We see Donne evolve in this collection, as the first five stories are in chronological order with the last two filling in Donne's backstory. In fact, this read more like a novel for me. Although there wasn't a single arc running through the stories, I was interested to find out would happen with Donne, which kept the pages turning.
Every story in here is rock solid. I think Closure is a good representation of White's work. In this story, Donne agrees to provide protection for a man who is trying to get information about his wife who died in 9-11. The case takes an unexpected turn and Donne is forced to act. This story won a Derringer and for good reason. It feels complete.