Private investigator Carlotta Carlyle’s moonlighting job as a taxi driver turns into the most dangerous, high-octane case of her career.
Six-foot-tall, redheaded ex-cop and Boston-based private eye Carlotta Carlyle is “the genuine article: a straightforward, funny, thoroughly American mystery heroine” (New York Post).
When Carlotta can’t sleep—or when money gets tight—she drives a cab. It’s always been a dangerous way to make a living, but lately it’s become truly terrifying. In the last two months, nine cabbies have been savagely beaten and robbed, and every time Carlotta gets behind the wheel, she knows that she could be next.
How then can she refuse when a rival taxi company hires her to investigate the assaults? Thinking she will be making the world a safer place for cab drivers, Carlotta doesn’t suspect that this new case will push her even closer to the edge. The company she works for is co-owned by Sam Gianelli, her sometime lover and a mob-connected businessman whose family knows how to get tough. Drawn into a tangled conspiracy of mafia secrets and high-tech espionage, Carlotta will have to drive faster than ever to stay alive.
Hardware is the 6th book in the Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
- I love this series! and I’ve read several such series. Barnes does a marvelous job of maintaining a narrative arch across the series while building a dramatically complete mystery in each volume. Great protagonist, too, because she’s reasonably flawed, self-denigrating, actually gets harmed by encounters she has (rather than magically healing after each one), is smart, lucky, clever, and, most importantly, funny.
- Hardware is Krokus’ best album. Released in 1981, it was the album that broke Krokus in North America. Their earlier efforts, Pay It in Metal, and Metal Rendez-Vous were very rough around the edges. (Although Rendez-Vous did contain some very catchy tunes.) Hardware contained semi-hit single, Burning Bones. It received considerable airplay on CHOM-FM in Montreal, at least….
Many people thought this was AC/DC when they first heard it. The sound is very similar to Bon Scott-era AC/DC, including the vocals of Marc Storace, who was the son of an opera singer, and possessed a vocal range of several octaves. Most of the album is fairly uptempo. She’s Got Everything picks up after opening track Burning Bones, and then leads into a very strong, mid tempo tune, Winning Man. Oddly enough, Krokus would re-record Winning Man on their 1987 release, Heart Attack- and not for the better. Mainly what made the songs on Hardware so good, was the slightly less commercial feel they had, in contrast to later Krokus albums. There are fun moments, such as side 1 closer, Smelly Nelly, and the very un-subtle Mr. Sixty-Nine. The rest of side 2 (again my vinyl years) has good hard rockers: Easy Rocker, Rock City and Mad Racket. All three are solid. The album ends with Celebration. An odd song which starts slowly with a lone guitar, foot-stomp drum sounds, and Storace’s superb vocal work. It eventually explodes into full hard rock and ends with a chorus repeated over and over for a couple of minutes. Sound boring? No way! I defy you to listen to this song and not have it going through your head all day. This album had the classic Krokus lineup, with Storace, Fernando Von Arb (guitar), Chris Von Rohr (bass), Tommy Keifer (guitar)and Freddy Steady (drums)- And Freddy Steady has the greatest drummer name in rock history! How can you go wrong here? Buy it!
- In keeping with the last few Carlotta Carlyle mysteries, “Hardware” is much less fun and much more serious than earlier outings. This story involves the Mob, a possible hit that targets someone near and dear to Carlotta, and a murder that affects the Green and White Cab Company, and its wonderful proprietor, Gloria.
Carlotta’s on-again, off-again lover, Sam Gianelli, may not be able to escape his heritage this time around–his father is head of a major Mob Family. And Sam, like it or not, is trapped in some nefarious goings-on. Only Carlotta can save him, and she is facing the wrath of two Families, not to mention the usual cast of characters, from her pre-teen and increasingly difficult “little sister,” Paolina, to her raunchy roommate, Roz, to a possible new lover.
All in all, the story is a good one, and Carlotta’s solution to the puzzle that has threatened so many lives is brilliant. Carlotta still plays killer volleyball, still drives like a maniac (in and out of the cab), and still keeps her cool under pressure. But she has changed a great deal since the earlier books, and is a much more serious–and believeable–person than she ever was before.
A good read, and a strong key to what makes Carlotta tick.
- Carlotta Carlyle, part-time investigator and part-time cab driver, is asked to investigate some attacks on other drivers. At the same time she decides to update her “hardware” by buying a new gun and a new computer. Her old friend, police lieutenant Mooney helps her with the former and her sometime lover Sam’s friend Frank helps her with the latter. Added to this is Carlotta’s angst at receiving large sums of money for her Little Sister Paolina from Paolina’s mobster father which she doesn’t know what to do with before Paolina goes to college. Her tenant and sidekick Roz is tired of having the money stuffed into her mattress. The plot thickens when there is an attack on Green & White, the cab company owned by Sam whose family is also connected with the Mob. All of these elements are woven into a very complex plot which is a little hard to follow at times. However, the overall book is up to Barnes’ usual standards for this series and is a good read.