Jake Davenport PI Book Series
An average-Joe gay man wants to lead a “normal” life but keeps getting drawn into wild, weird, and sometimes dangerous situations by his job as a private investigator and by his circle of crazy friends and family.
Story by Rick Garman and Jeff Jones
Written by Rick Garman
Creative Status: First novel published 2009.
Jake Davenport wants a normal life: a house, a boyfriend, a dog, a car that doesn’t break down every five seconds, and enough money in his bank account to pay the cable bill… not necessarily in that order. He’s a nice guy – an average Joe – the type you always depend upon and who never lets you down. He’s the classic “good guy” who deserves to get everything he dreams of. Unfortunately there are a couple of things standing in the way between him and that “normal” life.
Primarily there’s his job as a private investigator, a career he fell into mostly by accident but that now dominates his life. Although it’s a job nowhere near as glamorous as those ‘70s TV shows would have you believe, Jake seems to have a knack for getting himself involved in cases that seem simple at first but often devolve into comedies of errors. He actively tries to avoid these kinds of cases but inevitably winds up involved with weird and wacky characters, bizarre and silly situations, and every now and then some random gunfire to go along with the complicated mysteries he has to solve.
But there’s also the friends and family surrounding him, most of whom don’t even come close to approaching the word “normal.” They are just as stress-inducing as his job even though his dealings with these people usually involve less shooting:
- Chartreuse, his black, drag-queen assistant with a penchant for themed outfits (i.e.: a week of tributes to famous First Ladies)
- Liz, one of his best-friends who can’t figure out how she wound up married to a used-car salesman
- William, a gay friend and former flame now settling down with everything Jake wants
- Bobbi, his “buttinsky” mother who rarely takes the figurative blinders off because when she does she doesn’t like what she sees
- Derrick, his macho older brother, a police detective who he regularly runs afoul of on cases
- Kyle, the man of his dreams who just wants to be friends.
Jake is settling uncomfortably into his mid-thirties as a regular guy while living and working in and around the almost painfully image-conscious Los Angeles gay scene. This only adds more fuel to the fire that is his struggle to figure out who he is and attain what he wants – a serious struggle constantly turned into a farce by the parade of craziness wandering in and out of his life on a daily basis.
“Jake Davenport, P.I.” evokes the spirit of great private investigator TV shows of the ‘70s and ‘80s like “Magnum P.I.,” “The Rockford Files,” and “Charlie’s Angels” done with a gay sensibility and a lighthearted approach. The book reverently pokes fun at the detective genre and at gay culture with eccentric but true-to-life characters, sharp dialogue, and lively plots full of comic mystery.
Jake Davenport – 33
Grounded, level-headed, and completely bewildered by his life, Jake often plays the “straight-man” in his circle of comically crazy family and friends. He is the every-man who happens to be a gay private investigator but all he wants is a quiet life in the suburbs with the man of his dreams. Underneath his Average Joe exterior, Jake is relentlessly competitive, highly analytical, and really good at his job although he’s never quite sure how or why. He’s also quite often a total basket case, he’s just better at hiding it than the people around him.
Chartreuse LaFontaine – 38
Tall, gorgeous, glamorous, and knows how to work all of it, Char is a black drag queen in the Ru Paul mold who works variously as a female impersonator, a lounge singer, and Jake’s secretary (much to his chagrin). She is everything you love and hate about gorgeous black drag queens – mouthy, funny, bitchy, catty, gossipy, fiercely loyal to her friends, and tough as nails around her enemies. Char is not the type who settles for a wig and a dress – no, she does theme weeks – everything from “Blonde Bombshells” (Marilyn, Madonna) to “Favorite First Ladies” (Jackie, Barbara, Hilary).
Liz Cavalucci – 34
One of Jake’s best friends, Liz is the woman who was destined to be the classic “fag hag” but rebelled against the stereotype and married the first guy who proposed to her, a good-hearted but slightly sleazy used car salesman named Vinnie. Now ten years and a couple of kids into her marriage, Liz is wondering how she got where she is and yearns for what she perceives as the adventure and excitement of Jake’s job, constantly inserting herself into his cases whenever she can.
William Best – 33
Jake and William were each other’s “first,” a relationship that burned bright for two glorious weeks and then settled into a comfortable and mutually co-dependent friendship. William has a great job, a house, a successful and loving boyfriend, a dog, and everything else that Jake wants. This of course causes no small amount of tension between them, especially when William, much like Liz, longs for the “action” in Jake’s supposedly glamorous profession.
Kyle Dawson – 29
Kyle is a bartender at the small gay tavern on the first floor of the building where Jake works and lives. The two cross paths often, partly because of the proximity of their jobs but also because gay bartenders know everything about everyone all the time so Jake often turns to Kyle for information. This interaction is difficult for Jake since Kyle is everything he wants in a guy: charming, very handsome, intelligent, witty, and handsome some more. The problem is Kyle doesn’t look at Jake the same way.
Bobbi Davenport – 58
Jake’s mother is constantly torn between wanting to be in the middle of everyone else’s business and not wanting to know what’s going on because she’s worried the stress of it all will give her a heart attack. Jake’s job, his love life (or lack thereof), his friends, and pretty much anything else you can think of are the source of great concern, many sleepless nights, and more than a few votive candles lit at her Catholic church.
Derrick Davenport – 38
Jake and his brother Derrick couldn’t be any more different. Derrick is a macho, focused, driven, straight-as-an-arrow, by-the-book detective with the Los Angeles Police Department who is constantly annoyed by his brother’s actions. He doesn’t get the whole “gay” thing and worse, Jake has a habit of stumbling into active criminal investigations that could cause both of them a lot of trouble.
Scott Mann – 40
William’s boyfriend is a slightly uptight but generally decent guy who often doesn’t understand why they keep hanging around Jake and his very odd menagerie of friends.
Vinnie Cavalucci – 37
Liz’s husband is basically a good guy who gets a bad rap because he’s a used car salesman and has a family who acts like “The Sopranos.”
Freddie Di Bonaventura – 30
A hard-drinking, say anything, boy crazy, party animal Freddie is always turning to Jake to get him out of whatever trouble he finds himself in.
The Case of the Missing Cha Cha Heel
When a man is found on a friend’s kitchen floor stabbed to death with a cha-cha heel, Jake stumbles into a case that involves a trigger happy street gang, a closeted NFL football star, a demented pastry chef, and The Gay Mafia (yes, they really do exist and they aren’t happy with Jake). While bodies are piling up, bullets are flying, and cars are exploding all around him, Jake keeps trying to find some semblance of normalcy in his life but with friends (and enemies) like his it’s not easy.
The Case of the Fradulent Frock
One week before best friend William’s wedding, Chartruese’s custom gown is stolen and Jake is hired to find it. This relatively simple beginning leads to murder, mayhem, and a diamond smuggling ring run by drag queens.
The Case of the Boys Town Bandits
Jake is hired to perform a security exercise by pretending to rob a gay bar in West Hollywood but quickly finds out that he has been set up to take the fall for a much larger crime. He enlists his friends (and a few enemies) to prove his innocence by robbing three gay bars during the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival.
The Case of the Private Dick
During a PI convention in Las Vegas, Jake wakes up to find a dead man in his bed.