The Fame Thief, Timothy Hallinan, Soho Crime, ISBN978-1-61695-280-8, 336 pgs, $25

51JH79zLrIL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_This is the third book in the Junior Bender mystery series.  If you have not read either of the first two then you owe it to yourself to run out, right now, and get copies.  Not that you could not fully enjoy this third book without having read the first two but why deprive yourself?

Junior Bender is a thief–a burglar to be more exact–but he’s also something more.  He’s a private detective–for criminals.  And not just any criminals but some of the biggest masterminds in Los Angeles.  so it is with no little bit of trepidation that Junior answers the summons of Irwin Dressler, scariest mob boss in LA, who happens to have a job for Junior.  The job seems simple enough if a bit wacky at the same time.  Dressler wants Junior to solve a crime that happened in 1951, when a young starlet had her career destroyed after compromising photos were taken of her.  Dressler wants justice and Junior is not in a position to say no.  So, off Junior goes, trying to investigate a case that’s been cold for 60 years.  Even if someone was behind the photos, if the whole thing had been a set up, how was he going to find anything out now?  But Dressler says jump and everyone does–or dies in the lack of the attempt.  As Junior digs into the case he uncovers more mysteries than he thought possible along with a ghost or two, and a poignant story of loss, ambition, resilience and betrayal.

This is a fun book . Junior is a fun character and Hallinan knows how to plot, how to twist a plot and how to make dialogue snappy, smart and fun.  There’s plenty of wise cracking as Junior tries to keep his own life in order while trying not to get killed unraveling the mystery dropped into his lap by Dressler.  This is very smart writing and a well crafted story.  You’ll not want it to end.  And when it does you’ll marvel that Hallinan managed to squeeze so much into such a brief space.  It’s simply masterful and I don’t say that very often.  But then there’s not many writers out there that I’ll follow and when one of their books comes out I not only seek it out but read it immediately.  I’m hoping there’s more than a few more crimes that need Junior’s specific set of skills to unravel.  Recommended highly.

If you want to get your own copy you can go here:The Fame Thief (Junior Bender #3)

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About damnaliens
Writer, reviewer, home provider to the Damnaliens

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