Private detective John Dorn lives in his office in Melbourne, Australia since his wife left him, and is kept working when his friend Demetri brings cases to him. Calling himself a private enquiry agent, he does whatever jobs come his way, which are mostly infidelity investigations with a camera. He doesn’t feel good about himself or his work, but he needs the money for whiskey and office rent.
There are ten stories in this volume, each separate cases, though they follow a chain of events. There are no gun battles or fist fights, just good story telling. Each case ends with a moral for the reader to digest, though the ending is not always good. In one case he wants closure to a previous investigation, and allows three men to beat him almost to death, only saved at the last minute by Feds raiding the establishment. The favorite tale for me was Leaving The Fountainhead. Dorn finds a bar on a dark rainy night and is drinking his sorrows away when a man enters the bar asking for directions. The bartender gives him the wrong directions on purpose. Dorn, spying a full bottle of whiskey on the shelf spins a wild story about the man after he departs, making him out to be a crazy killer, and tells the barman he will return to exact vengeance. Was it a fancy tale to obtain that bottle of whiskey, or was it true. We don’t find out, but it could have been either way. The bartender gives Darn the whiskey to head off the stranger.
A midnight promise is one you make at midnight when you don’t intend to keep it, and all through the book, the reader wonders if Dorn will finish the run, or not keep his promise to survive – if he even wants to. The stories are well written, and entertaining, and the reader will find Dorn an odd sort of private investigator, but you will root for him at the end.