Memorial Day

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Five Star rolls out two novels set in the American West: Laurie Moore's kinky sequel to The Lady Godiva Murder (2002), The Wild Orchid Society, in which Fort Worth homicide cop Cuzanne Martin joins a decadent secret society in order to track down a sadistic killer known as the Executioner and Harry Shannon's noirish mystery debut, Memorial Day, in which down-on-his-luck psychologist Mick Callahan, now a radio talk-show host near his hometown of Dry Wells, Nev., investigates the murder of one of his call-in listeners. Advance praise from Bill Pronzini and Barbara Seranella should give it a boost. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Mick Callahan, once a famous pop psychologist, now a recovering alcoholic, retreats to his small-town roots in Dry Wells, NV. There, two sudden murders, probably connected, get his attention. One of the victims had asked him for help, just as a Beverly Hills woman had done three years earlier and met the same fate. So he sticks around, jeopardizing a Hollywood audition, to question suspects, antagonize the richest family in town, help a computer-nerd friend, and solve the murders. Big-city problems in a little town tackled by a likable hero result in a most promising first mystery. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594141997
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 5/13/2004
  • Series: Mick Callahan Novel Series
  • Pages: 265
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.84 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    A flawed protagonist on the rebound

    That Mick Callahan considers his gig as host of a late-night radio call-in program in the remote desert town of Dry Wells, Nevada part of his recovery is the clearest indication of how far he has fallen. Callahan is the epitome of the flawed hero. He once trained to be a Navy Seal, he had a successful career as a Frasier-like television psychologist but now he takes things one day at a time as a reformed alcoholic who had an abusive childhood and now needs the next big break desperately to pull him out of the gutter. Dry Wells isn¿t the big break, but it¿s a way of making a little cash in the town where he grew up before he returns to California for the interview that might give him a second (or third) chance. He tries to overcome a sense of humiliation as he fields wrong numbers and prank calls, but when a young woman caller claims that she is in fear of her life from an abusive partner, Callahan has a flashback to an earlier situation where a woman was killed after he was too busy and too self-involved to respond to her cry for help. It¿s déjà vu all over again when the young woman who called herself Ophelia is found dead the following day during Memorial Day festivities. Callahan resist sticking his nose into the investigation, especially when Sheriff Bass¿with whom he has a checkered history¿warns him off. Ophelia¿s suspicious death is the second in as many days, which qualifies as a killing spree in Dry Wells. There aren¿t many suspects to choose from, either, and it¿s hard to come up with good red herrings, either. There is a complicated scheme involving drugs and influence among the wealthier residents, and Callahan¿s task is more about unraveling what¿s going on under the town¿s skin than discovering who is responsible. Callahan has a lot of history with the people of Dry Wells; old friendships and ancient animosities, all of which complicate his investigation and his life. He resists entanglement with an old girlfriend who still carries a torch for him in spite of the shabby way he once treated her. He is graced with an oddball pair of sidekicks: his very resourceful AA sponsor who helps him by remote control while flitting around Europe, and Jerry, a geeky hacker whose apartment is packed with all the latest in computer technology. Jerry is Callahan¿s conscience as well as a source of information. Every time Callahan threatens to pack it in, Jerry guilts him into continuing his investigation. Stories like this work best when a clock is running against the protagonist to give it extra urgency. Callahan¿s deadline is the Hollywood interview, the big career break. If he doesn¿t sort things out by the end of the weekend, he may have to leave town¿which wouldn¿t upset many of the locals¿for his carved-in-stone date in L.A. The book¿s ending becomes a little overconvoluted as revelation is heaped upon revelation and some readers may be taken aback by an eleventh hour disclosure that seems to come from nowhere. Author Harry Shannon has published primarily in the horror genre until now, but his personal experience as a therapist allows him to arm Callahan with the vocabulary of the trade. Nearly every encounter he has is like a miniature therapy session and Callahan¿s insights seem¿at least to an outsider¿sharp and on the money. A solid first effort in the genre and hopefully the beginning of a Callahan series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2004

    The start of something big?

    As the old song goes, this could be the start of something big.Mick Callahan is just fascinating, a gifted therapist with a deeply troubled past, a drinking problem and a tendency toward violence. His internal conflicts are the best part of this mystery debut and promise to make him a lasting series character in years to come. Though the writing style is more reminiscent of John D. MacDonald, I have suggested this book to a lot of friends who are fans of James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and George Pellicanos. It's a winner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2004

    Memorial Day

    For those of you who have read Shannon's previous novels, Night of the Beast and Night of the Werewolf, it will come as no surprise that his latest novel crackles with the same brittle dialogue and muscular prose he's been honing over the past few years. What might surprise you is that Memorial Day isn't a horror novel - at least, not in the commercial/marketing sense. Memorial Day is very much a noir mystery novel, and with only a few minor bumps along the way, Shannon makes the kind of smooth transition between genres that most writers can only dream about. Reading like a cross between Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show and Raymond Chandler's The Little Sister, the novel tells the story psychologist/television celebrity Mick Callahan, who, as the novel opens, has hit rock bottom thanks to booze, drugs, women, and his own out of control ego. With nothing left and nowhere to go, he accepts a job hosting a radio talk show in his home town of Dry Wells, Nevada. One of the callers to whom he speaks one night is murdered, and Mick-who made his reputation on television partly by investigative reporting-takes it upon himself to track down the murderer. Fairly straightforward, traditional mystery elements, yes, but what makes Memorial Day stand apart from the majority of first mystery novels is Shannon's unflinching, lean, and unsentimental portrayal not only of Callahan, but of all the characters who populate Dry Wells. Not only is Callahan trying to get his life back on track, not only is he dealing with a truckload of guilt carried over from his previous life, not only does he make enemies out of seemingly most of Dry Wells' population, but he's also dealing with memories of his own abusive childhood that are being brought to the surface as his investigation uncovers tawdry secret after tawdry secret. These are a lot of character elements to deal with in a novel; that Shannon not only grapples with these elements but resolves them - and does so in a tight 266 pages - but he also draws fully three-dimensional characterizations for everyone in Dry Wells that Callahan comes into contact with. No easy feat, and one cannot help but applaud Shannon's craftsmanship. Which is not to say that everything is on solid ground; there are times when a line of dialogue comes off as self-consciously noir-ish ('You might as well paint a target on your forehead', 'This town's got a lot of dirty little secrets', 'You move, you die' etc.), one very important clue is delivered in too-obvious manner, and in the final third of novel, Callahan suffers one brutal beating after another, only to quickly recover and come back for more. But these are, in the end, minor quibbles that do not adversely affect the overall strength and readability of Memorial Day; at best, they reduce a **** novel to ***1/2. With Memorial Day, Shannon has made a strong and memorable mystery debut. Mick Callahan has the makings of a fascinating series character in the traditional of Ed Gorman's Sam McCain or Andrew Vachss' Burke. Personally, I think it's high time we had a new series character like Callahan, and a new mystery writer as skillful as Shannon. Even if mystery is not your usual cup of tea, I still highly recommend Memorial Day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004

    A Page Turning-Teeth Gritting Thriller

    Harry Shannon, already well-regarded in the Horror genre, flexes his ample writing muscles with a brilliant and engaging first mystery novel in 'Memorial Day.' Mick Callahan is a colorful and thoroughly engaging antihero - a man whose own excesses have turned him from a highly successful celebrity talk show host to an unemployed loser, groveling for any small jobs he can find. He winds up, with tail between his legs, in a small Nevada town as a substitute for the popular local radio talk show host. When a local girl dies after placing a call to the station, Mick is drawn into a dustbowl of murder and mayhem, and is forced to confront his own demons, as well as those around him. I hope this novel ends up on the big screen - it would make a great movie!!! I can't wait to read the next Mick Callahan novel - I'm sure Harry Shannon and Mick Callahan will be around for a long time. Lucky for us!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2004

    WOW!

    Sex, murder, deceit, lust, dark secrets, incest, greed, lies, corruption, sin, tortured souls and intense heat. No this is not Dante¿s inferno, it`s Dry Wells Nevada. A little town that grabs its inhabitants like a psychopathic, dysfunctional lover and punishes any attempts of breaking free with grisly vengeance. And in the midst of all this, Mick Callahan, our local fallen angel with tainted, broken wings, waist deep in deceit, chasing an illusive truth that will set his soul free and bring justice where seemingly justice has no place. This is not your, the all so well crafted antihero, made to appease our moral senses and need of superiority. The Hollywood contraption, smelling from a mile high, like a cheap whore, the stench of profit making. Holly Batman! Can I say that? This is real, fresh, alive and kicking. The man that proves that intelligence is not necessarily the ticket to happiness but a good way to get deeper tangled in life¿s misery. I hardly wait for the sequel! Dorian Carmaz

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2004

    Harry Shannon does it again!

    Harry Shannon burst onto the scene with his first novel, Night of the Beast, in 2002. That book that put him on the map in the horror field, and was soon followed by the second, Night of the Werewolf. His horror trilogy, a tribute to classic 1980s pulp, will conclude in August, 2004 with Night of the Daemon. Now with Memorial Day (A Mick Callahan Novel) Shannon has yet again put his name on the map in a big way--this time in the mystery genre. Mick Callahan, the troubled young protagonist, has led a fascinating life, one that mirrors author Shannon's own past as an actor, singer, Emmy-nominated songwriter and now counselor in private practice. A recovering alcoholic, ex-TV pop psychologist and a former Navy SEAL washout, Mick has returned to his hometown of Dry Wells, Nevada to host a radio talk show with high hopes of finally cleaning up his life. While out jogging, he comes across a dead body near a back alley dumpster, a crime the local sheriff apparently wants to cover up. When a distressed young girl who called his radio show is found murdered the very next day, Callahan is reluctantly persuaded to investigate the crimes on his own. Naturally, he immediately starts making enemies. To find the truth, Mick, who is a skilled therapist, must first probe into the lives of Dry Wells most respected residents. When he does, he ends up placing himself in several sticky situations. This clever noir tale which ultimately leads up to one wild, climactic ending that takes place on Memorial Day is a fast paced read with unforgettable characters and several exciting plot twists. It not only comes recommended to mystery fans, but also to fans of Harry's past intoxicating and pleasurable horror genre novels. In fact, Harry Shannon's debut mystery novel screams for another installment featuring the loveable Mick Callahan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2004

    Crime Has A New Name And A Rugged Face

    Having read Shannon's horror novels, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with his first foray into crime-noir, and have top admit I forked over the money with more than a degree of caution. With a tower of books awaiting my attention at home, I'm trying to cut down on buying books I'm not 100% confident will be good. Well, I splashed out and bought an advance copy of the book, and finished it last night, after starting it yesterday morning. If that's not sufficient enough to indicate my feelings about this book, let me clarify: I needn't have worried. If anything, Harry Shannon has, with Memorial Day, shown the reader where his true heart lies -- not in horror, but in the crime genre. This book is, from start to finish, a sepia-toned journey on the shoulders of a weary man at the far end of a short rope. Indeed, when a caller to his low-rent radio show is murdered, it seems our hero Mick Callahan latches onto the crime as a distraction against his own uncertainty. He has led a full life, with more than its share of traumas. Static moments give him nothing but time to reflect, and more often than not he is reminded of things he'd rather forget. So, however unwillingly he might see his taking on the role of amateur sleuth, the reader knows it's an attempt at a spiritual cleansing for Callahan. There is nary a misstep in the entire novel. There are lulls in the narrative but these are necessary, beautifully counterbalancing the darkness that follows. It's an intriguing first foray into the seedy underbelly of crime noir. It's a genre laden with cliche and repetitiveness. All the more surprising and refreshing then, that Shannon manages to introduce an original and fiercely entertaining novel into the fray. For me, there will be no doubt next time. A terrific piece of work. F. Holt

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    Memorial Day

    The new series character Mick Callahan is a cowboy, a shrink and a classic noir tough guy with a heart of gold struggling to break free. Now and then he is somewhat reminiscent of good old Travis McGee but less philisophical and more eaten up by his guilt...and rage. I got my hands on an ARC last week and just wanted to post with the others that I enjoyed this debut mystery novel an awful lot. Nice work, Mr. Shannon. My first of his books but not the last.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2004

    Memorial Day

    'For those who like their murder cold and their stories hot as a smoking gun, 'MEMORIAL DAY' is a stunning arrival. Harry Shannon's narration is as sharply defined as the austere Nevada landscape through which his characters move; it peers into every dark corner of the human condition. This is a sumptuous feast, with authentic dialogue, acerbic wit and enough 'reality bites' to satiate the hungriest fan of crime noir.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2004

    Wow, what a cool new series!

    WOW what a series newcomer! Burned out ex-TV star and therapist Mick Callahan arrives on the scene with pros like Bill Pronzini, Barbara Seranella, Thomas F. Monteleone, Paul Bishop and a lot of other mystery and thriller stalwarts singing his praises. The odd setting, little Dry Wells Nevada, comes alive and the dialogue has a ton of wry western humor. The chase scenes will have you squirming and the fights are clearly written by somebody who has personally done his share of drinking and brawling. It is too early to say for sure but this guy Mick might become up there with Burke's great Dave R. and Pronzini's Nameless and the immortal Travis McGee. He is the rusty knight all over again, but now with a Ph.D. and wearing a pair of dusty cowboy boots and a (somewhat) chastened attitude. As you can tell I really dug this novel and am chomping at the bit to read a sequel.

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