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The Barnes & Noble Review
A fast-paced ride through the politics and hidden agendas of a remote northern California town, this novel from New York Times bestselling author William Diehl is a dark tale that heralds back to the finest days of noir. The ironic title works especially well here, covering the bases for each plot thread as it unravels -- from private deceptions to those with consequences for everybody involved. This is a finely plotted multigenerational tale of corruption which unfolds in an expert fashion spanning over forty years.
The novel alternates between several historical plotlines. In the early 1900s, the Old West is still alive in the California town of Eureka. It's a so-called den of iniquity, where money made from brothels and bootlegging quickly changes hands. In 1945, Zee Bannon of the LAPD is hospitalized from wounds received during WWII. His former partner Ski Agassi has been hunting through records investigating a case involving a Jane Doe who was found dead in her tub four years earlier -- an unsolved case which still haunts Bannon, and one he hopes to crack now that he's back from Europe.
Bannon discovers the woman's lost bank account, which takes him to Eureka, now renamed San Pietro. There he meets the infamous Sheriff Culhane who has aspirations to be the next governor. As the story flips back and forth through time we learn more about young Culhane and how his legendary exploits in World War I cover secrets that might eventually destroy him -- and possibly Bannon as well.
Diehl has a wonderful talent at weaving clandestine situations and the corrupt politics of several timelines. History plays a large part in the book and scenes play out with an energy that scoops the reader along into the narrative. All parties involved are constantly discovering more about themselves and just what the cost might be for each stand that's taken.
Eureka works on several levels while the mystery components often take a back seat to equally involving situations of a more personal nature. It's the author's bleak but sanguine world view, and his understanding of conflicting human nature, that will bring you to a gripping, unforgettable finale. (Tom Piccirilli)