False Pretences

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With his taut, cinematic plots and sun-blazed California settings, Arthur Lyons is the premier heir to the Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald tradition. And with his private-eye hero Jacob Asch, Lyons has carved out his own, acclaimed place in American mystery fiction. Now Asch returns for the first time in five years, in a novel of lies, lust, and murder in L.A.... Asch is taking a trip down memoryless lane, chasing down octogenarians and testing their sanity for twenty-five dollars an hour when he receives two...
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Overview

With his taut, cinematic plots and sun-blazed California settings, Arthur Lyons is the premier heir to the Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald tradition. And with his private-eye hero Jacob Asch, Lyons has carved out his own, acclaimed place in American mystery fiction. Now Asch returns for the first time in five years, in a novel of lies, lust, and murder in L.A.... Asch is taking a trip down memoryless lane, chasing down octogenarians and testing their sanity for twenty-five dollars an hour when he receives two calls from prospective clients. One caller cancels at the last second; the other, a man named Jacobi, hires Asch for a fool's errand. Asch returns to his office to find a corpse sitting at his desk, his brains splattered on Asch's rented walls. As a suspect in the murder, Asch falls into the hands of some tough L.A. detectives. But as he starts investigating the killing himself his luck gets better: He falls in with an icy blond Hollywood detective who cheerfully calls herself The Bitch Goddess. Leslie Boetticher is a fantasy come true. Asking Asch's help with murder - and two related killings - she takes him to never-never land. Back on earth, Leslie's ex-partners aren't so happy. Balancing on an erotic high wire above a sprawling land of junkies, mayhem, and murder, Asch has a dream woman in his bed and every man's worst nightmare lurking at his door. For somewhere in the reality of crime and corruption in L.A., the concrete-hard truth about a killing spree and one canceled phone call will all come together...

Los Angeles P.I. Jacob Asch is in over his head when a client turns up dead and a devoted cop asks for his help with two related murders. Now, he's balancing on a high wire above a cityscape of junkies, violence and lies, searching for just one little piece of truth that will either save his life--or get him killed.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After a month spent pursuing perplexed oldsters whose abler relatives hope to claim conservatorship of their assets, a change is as good as a rest for LA shamus Jacob Asch, seen before in Other People's Money et al. Although Asch has a classic hangdog charm, this particular case limps along unconvincingly and without much continuity. The man who hires Asch to follow his straying wife isn't who he says he is; the wife Asch tails is a prostitute hired for the job. When the man is killed in Asch's office, the PI is in position for the fall. While investigating what he was set up for, Asch gets involved with a long-legged, dark-haired beauty of a police officer who entertains him in lacy little nothings that don't go with her uniform. He doesn't exactly complain, even as he still serves as occasional sexual plaything for a lusty television anchorwoman. After more killings, the suggestion of cop corruption arises, leading to a conclusion that seems too neat, despite the threads, especially emotional ones, left hanging in the warm California air. Nevertheless, the shabby, solitary Asch, hunkered down in his own retro-California, inhabits a decidedly Chandler-esque time and place. (Jan.)
Wes Lukowsky
After a five-year hiatus, Jacob Asch is back. The prototypical modern L.A. private eye, Asch is forced to supplement his income tracking down elderly wards of the state who have wandered off. Then he lands the job of tailing one Mark Jacobi's wife. After an uneventful day of tailing her, Asch returns to his office to find Mark Jacobi dead from a bullet in the brain. As the cops conduct their investigation, Asch finds out that Jacobi wasn't really Jacobi but a small-time hustler and snitch. As Asch says, echoing Sam Spade, when a guy gets killed in your office, it's bad for detectives everywhere, and he has to do something about it. Heading the official investigation is Lieutenant Leslie Boetticher, blond bombshell and hard-nosed cop. Asch falls for her--hard. When his investigation leads him to Leslie's partner, Asch is forced to make some difficult decisions. How much can he trust Leslie? A tough, clever mystery with more than a little debt to "The Maltese Falcon"; Asch is a worthy descendant of Mr. Spade.
Kirkus Reviews
Jacob Asch's first client since 1989 (Other People's Money) is Mark Jacobi, a salesman who wants Asch to check up on his wife—except that he isn't and he doesn't. He's really William Graves—a small-time burglar whose past, together with that of his hooker-roommate-partner Lexine Woods—is disturbingly mixed up with that of Hollywood Homicide Detective Art Carlson, newly widowed by suicide. Why did Graves want to get into Asch's office so badly on such short notice? What did he know about Mrs. Carlson's death? And will Asch end up in the sleek arms of Carlson's partner Detective Leslie Boetticher, a leggy female Rambo, or go back to KNXT reporter Jan O'Connor, who couples in sound bites? Though it's obvious from early on whodunit, Asch's narrative keeps the momentum so smooth and nasty that you'll be sorry to see it wind down. Welcome back, Jake.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781874061342
  • Publisher: Oldcastle Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/28/1996
  • Pages: 231

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