Excerpt: The Hero of Hucklebuck Drive by Gerry Burke

About the Book:


Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and Paddy Pest is equally comfortable being described as a garrulous gumshoe, a shameful shamus or a lecherous lounge lizard. When the Melbourne community is rocked by the news of abduction and murder, Paddy can smell the prospect of a retainer in the wind. With the aid of his stunningly sublime companion Stormy Weathers, the discount detective follows the clues and is amazed where they take him.

Drug lord Kelpie Sparrow and his henchman, Skull Murphy, are involved but what of the Italian connection? Does the lovely therapist Annabella Luciano and her parish priest, the Maserati driving Fr. Lothario, have something to hide? To make sense of it all, Paddy has to head back to his former neighborhood and renew acquaintances with old friends.

Death and depravity in the worlds most livable city. Melbourne needs a hero like never before.

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Featured in Dec/Jan 2016 Issue: 2015 Indie Best Award Winners

“What do you think of these disappearances in Toorak, Paddy? All pizza delivery boys. The newspapers are talking about a serial killer.”


I awoke the next morning to the ringing of the door-bell. I slipped into my silk robe and slicked-back my hair. If my visitor turned out to be a Seventh Day Adventist, there would be blood on the ground.

Her name was Mrs. Smith and she looked like the booby prize in a vanity raffle. I guessed the lady was all of forty and then some. Her bedraggled appearance was in some way due to the rain but she had sad eyes and there appeared to be red marks on both of her cheeks. Her hair was damp and discolored and her good bits were discreetly covered by a tight-fitting overcoat. The woman was clutching a mustard-colored umbrella that was dripping like an Irish faucet, so I invited her in. I was dead keen to learn whether her husband might be John Smith. This was a name that people in law enforcement heard quite often.

“You are Mr. Pest aren’t you, the famous detective? I was told you were the best person to find my Henry. He’s gone missing.”

“I am more than happy to try and help you find your husband, especially if he was the one who gave you those ugly bruises on your cheeks.”

“What bruises? That’s my rouge. We can’t all afford French cosmetics and my husband, John, is not missing. Henry is my son.”

Although I was certainly chastened by this rebuke, I had a warm feeling about Mrs. Smith, and this was exacerbated when she removed her overcoat to reveal a well-rounded, taut figure that belied her years. She was some kind of gal for an old boiler.

“OK then, tell me all about it. How long has he been missing? How old is he? Could he be involved with a femme fatale?”

“He is fourteen years of age, likes video games, skateboarding, and his mom’s cooking.”

“In that case he probably hasn’t run away. I presume Henry is at school but does he do any part-time work?”

“Why yes, he’s a pizza delivery boy.”

The Hero of Hucklebuck Drive. Copyright © 2015 by Gerry Burke. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, iUniverse.

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