Reading is down, according to polls, but that hasn’t stopped Papa John, the guy from pizza, from writing and publishing over 50 books in his Papa John’s Mysteries series so far. I’m proud to say I’ve read them all, and I’ve rated my favorite six of those books here.
6) The Case of the Missing Tiger
This one’s pretty good. Papa goes all coke-crazy in chapter 3 and accidentally sets fire to some bagels. Peyton Manning, from football, shows up for the first time in this book. My favorite part is when Peyton throws a brick down a road after a robber getting away in his Suburban, and the brick goes so hard and fast that the Suburban explodes. “Now that’s what I call a touchdown,” says Papa.
5) The Stolen Signature
This one is pre-Peyton. Papa’s sidekick at that point was this Mexican kid named Paco, and he sucked. He couldn’t throw a punch, or even take a punch. He just ducked down behind boxes during trouble and got kidnapped a lot. But this is the best of the ones where Paco is sidekick, because it starts with Paco getting his head cut off with some twine, which means Papa has to get revenge. Papa has sex with at least 40 women in this one, which is kind of unrealistic, but I won’t argue with the guy. He knows why I read books.
4) Murder so Sudden
Peyton kills a a whole family of rancid jugglers with a rucksack full of grenades, and Papa learns how to play the piano and does cocaine, all before the big twist in the end, which is that the lady who hires Papa and Peyton to solve her husband’s murder was actually the murderer. You have to read this one for the twist, which I won’t give away here. Also, do you like bestiality? No? Well, it’s in this book.
3) Just Who the Heck D’you Think You Are?!??
Papa’s got a problem: his old man is coming to town, and he’s got a guest room full of blow. This book is more a comedy of errors than a mystery, per se, but there is about 50 pages dedicated to the local police investigating Peyton after the town creep is found dead with a meat cleaver buried in his face. “Now that’s what I call a touchdown,” Says Peyton nervously as he peers out the window and rubs coke on his gums while Papa shivers in the corner, blood pouring from his nose.
2) The Evilest Woman
Peyton gets married! Finally! But Papa smells a rat — and he finds it after digging it out of Peyton’s new wife’s throat. It’s remote controlled, of course, but that doesn’t stop Peyton from chasing Papa cross-country in a murderous rage. Can Papa find the culprits before his best bud kills him in cold blood and desecrates his oily corpse?
1) Rainbow Texture Corral Platypus Parade
Papa might have gone off the deep end, drugs wise, when he wrote this one, but it’s by far the most entertaining in the series. In this one, Peyton has sprouted an additional seventeen heads, and head eight tells Papa that the Full Moon Monk is coming for a little unwanted Equinox Coupling! Needless to say, Papa picks up a threshing scythe and goes to town on the unwitting populace — but don’t worry, a psychic storm is brewing right outside the city limits, and wolfsbane cowboys don’t coagulate on a needle highway corpulent pheromone howling breastplate. “Now that’s what I call a touchdown,” croaks Papa, his spiritual form slipping the shimmering veil.