A private investigator takes on a tail job, his quarry a newly-arrived visitor from the UK. The private eye has never heard of him, but he will.
The mark is a Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas.
And in three weeks' time, Mr Thomas will be dead.
(Hardback version available)
"This is an excellent read with all the excitement and page-turning enjoyment of a good story and the additional buzz of seeing stories of Subject Thomas which have not perhaps been seen before. The quality of the writing is high, the research immaculate. It has thrills, shocks, humour and perhaps even a subtext of devotion." - Liz Whittaker, Tivyside Advertiser
"Thanks Rob Gittins. You've gone and done it again. I had to fight back the tears reading those last few pages. I loved this book!
" - Tony de Sarzec
"Hired to dig dirt on Dylan Thomas during his last visit to New York, a private investigator instead finds the image of his own ruined life in the poet's.Stung by a 1953 profile in the coyly unnamed Time magazine, the distinguished but unruly Welsh poet has threatened a libel suit. The obvious defense, private eye Jimmy is assured by his frequent client, Time attorney Con, is to "prove everything in this profile is gospel." That means tailing Thomas as he makes the rounds of the Big Apple's fleshpots in order to substantiate a pattern of misbehavior... Jimmy, who's no child, must learn important life lessons from the dying poet in order to save himself. Gittins (Gimme Shelter, 2013) mines Thomas' real-life last days for these obvious lessons with sensitivity and devotion." - Laurie Muchnick, Kirkus Reviews
"Rob Gittins' second novel The Poet and the Private Eye is a refreshing cocktail of facts and fiction... The skills of a screenwriter can be sensed throughout this novel. Rob Gittins reminds us how Thomas' words managed to hit far for a global audience." - Naomi Garnault, New Welsh Review online
"Gittins paints a moving portrait of a talented man feted by the same public complicit in his death." - Publishers Weekly
"Rob Gittins writes with convincing ease as the cynical gumshoe Jimmy. The reader is drawn into the world of New York in the 1950s, where Marilyn Monroe is glimpsed in a bar and the scandals come thick and fast. The mix of fact and fiction works seamlessly as Jimmy follows Dylan Thomas through the last few desperate weeks of his life. There are scenes of painful embarrassment of which Dylan is entirely unaware as he staggers towards oblivion." - Lucy Walter, Gwales