Soho Crime, 2012, 356 Pages
ISBN No. 978-1616952747
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid
Junior Bender is a burglar but he has some rather unique ways of approaching his jobs. Some of his methods will have you rolling on the floor laughing but they seem to work for him – at least most of the time. There are a few moments when the reader wonders if Junior will survive to steal another day.
An LA crime boss is producing a porn movie starring Thistle Downing. Thistle is a former child star who was loved by her fans but time has taken a toll on Thistle and she is currently living in a drug-induced stupor, destitute and uninsurable. The movie would bring income to Thistle but would only send her further down her current path of destruction.
Junior is blackmailed into accepting the free-lance job of finding out who is sabotaging this movie. His job is to keep the movie on track. The problem Junior is running into is that he likes Thistle and knows the movie is not the best thing for her even though she needs the money. Junior sets out to fulfill his obligation but at the same time do right by Thistle and this isn’t an easy thing to do. Junior has some very interesting friends who lend a helping hand along the way.
I want to read more and more about Junior. He is a character that is full of charm and certainly has some interesting escapades. Crashed is written in a totally different style from the Bangkok series. This novel proves that Timothy Hallinan can entertain us with more than one type of novel and I for one want to read everything he writes.
The Fear Artist
Soho Crime, 2012, 342 Pages
ISBN No. 978-1616951122
Poke Rafferty’s wife, Rose, has taken their daughter Miaow out of town to visit Rose’s mother. Poke is left to his own devices and decides to paint the apartment while they are gone. But Poke has a lot of hoops to jump through before he gets the apartment painted. As he exits the paint store, a large man runs into him and lands on top of him. As Poke struggles to get up, he sees that the man has been shot. Before he dies the man whispers three words to Poke. The words have no meaning to Poke but he soon realizes that other people are very concerned about what the man whispered. They suspect that Poke has information about something, but he is clueless.
Thai secret agents interrogate Poke, but he has nothing to tell. He is released only to find that his apartment has been ransacked. Next thing he knows he is accused of murdering the man from the street. Poke goes into hiding and is determined to discover the identity of the man and the meaning of the whispered message. This time as Poke searches for answers he has to go it alone. Fearing for his wife and daughter, he orders them to stay away from Bangkok until he can find a way to dig out of the hole he finds himself in.
Tragic things that happened in the past all come to light as Poke finally goes after the person responsible for not only the death of the man in the street but for many more tragedies. The final confrontation makes for an exciting and terrifying conclusion.
I love the Bangkok series and find it very difficult to pick a favorite. The characters are strong and the reader will either love them or hate them. Even though I’ve just finished The Fear Artist, I can’t wait for the next addition to the series.