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Posted March 8, 2014
One picks up a book by Tim Hallinan to have fun. There¿s a littl
One picks up a book by Tim Hallinan to have fun. There’s a little murder, sure…sometimes a lot of murder…but it’s usually the bad guys that “get it” and we rest easy, knowing there is someone out there who’d rob us blind if he could, but who won’t take more than we can afford to lose.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Hallinan’s creation, Junior Bender, is the kind of guy you might ask back to your house for a party, after he’d robbed it, just to ask how he did it. He’s that amusing.
The Junior Bender series of books is based in Los Angeles and captures the vibration of southern California precisely. If you’ve ever found yourself missing the place, you might want to pick up one of Hallinan’s books for a cure. Hallinan lasers in on defining characteristics, and picks up those things we thought we’d fixed with botox, or managed to hide with designer advice. He is brilliant at describing environments, in this case an old art deco apartment building with a view of the city purchased by crooked Koreans. Crumbling and unkempt on the outside, it is gloriously restored on the inside, with secret escapes and hidden garages, just perfect for hiding ill-gotten gains or for a man on the run.
Junior has a code of ethics that is not taught in any religion, but like many southern Californians, is just something he created out of whole cloth and “evolved” into. But we like this code, just as we like him. He is a thief, yes, but his heart is in the right place. Everyone wants his help at some time or another, even the cops, and if they don’t, well, mostly they want to lock him up or kill him. Which keeps Junior on his toes.
Junior has a family, and in this episode, his thirteen-year-old daughter, Rina, shows she is growing up into someone he can admire. Do I need to say she has computer skills that put her father to shame? And while she is not old enough to have a boyfriend, she has a friend that is a boy who is as special and interesting as everyone else in the family. We yearn to see more of him, and watch him grow.
Hallinan writes crime novels that defy the type. One can imagine finding a sprung-binding massmarket paperback of his with its delicious, distinctive single-color cover and woodcut silhouettes and opening to the first page…only hours later surfacing to reflect that one had found gold.
Posted February 25, 2013
A pattern seems to be developing n the Junior Bender series. In
A pattern seems to be developing n the Junior Bender series. In the debut novel, “Crashed,” Junior, a professional burglar, was blackmailed, indirectly, by Trey Annunziato, the female head of a crime family, to steal a Klee. In this, the second book in the series, he is blackmailed by a detective to try to protect his uncle, Vincent Di Gaudio, from a murder rap. I guess we’ll have to wait for the third installment, expected in June, “The Fame Thief,” to find out whether the trend continues.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Be that as it may be, there are two stories in the present novel. First is the murder of a gossip reporter, for which a prime suspect is Vincent DiGaudio, known for finding and promoting various boys known as the “Little Elvises” during the 1950’s. Then the owner of the motel in which Junior is living asks him to find her daughter, from whom she has not heard for some time. Apparently she was living with a man suspected of murdering several women. Just to add an additional touch of complexity and humor to the novel, Junior becomes involved with the journalist’s widow, while his ex-wife and 13-year-old daughter each have new boyfriends, complicating his life further.
A hallmark of a Timothy Hallinan mystery novel are unusual situations and characterizations, and a whole lot of humor. “Little Elvises” is no exception. Junior continues to evolve in this book, and we find him becoming softer and more human, despite the bizarre confrontations he gets into. It’s a worthy follow-up, and we look forward to the next chapter in his life.
Posted October 29, 2011
As a big fan of the Polk Rafferty series I think Hallinan missed the mark on this one; it was a slow read that may make it hard to pick up the next book in this series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2011
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Posted January 9, 2012
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