Marilyn Stasio - The New York Times Book Review
“Jack Liffey, the private investigator in John Shannon's mysteries,
works the roughest territory in the genre—the subculture of the southern California teenager. Unaware that his own impetuous teenage daughter is endangering herself by trying to help him, Liffey patiently excavates the area's social strata, uncovering layers of antagonism among the privileged rich, surfer gangs,
and a racist militia group prowling the hills.”
Shannon explores the deep, sometimes deadly divide that separates haves and have-nots in his rewarding 11th mystery to feature 60-year-old Jack Liffey, who specializes in locating missing children (after 2008's The Devils of Bakersfield). Jack's ex-wife, Kathy, asks him to find Blaine "Blue" Hostetler, her best friend's missing teenage daughter. Smart and attractive, Blue was involved in such causes as preserving the habitat of the endangered butterfly, the Palos Verdes Blue, and aiding illegal immigrants. Jack's investigation takes him from L.A.'s ultra-rich enclaves and the surfers' paradise of Lunada Bay to muddy migrant camps and Tijuana. Once again, Jack's daughter, Maeve, puts herself in danger to help her dad, with mixed results. Effectively told in part through letters written by a young Mexican immigrant and others written by a scared teenage surfer to his dad, this installment highlights Shannon's ability to sharply render subtle shades of right and wrong. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Noir master Shannon's (The Concrete River) latest Jack Liffey thriller targets a dirty little secret of one of California's most affluent neighborhoods. When Liffey is hired to find the missing daughter of his ex-wife's best friend, he uncovers an intense turf war that escalates from homeboy harassment to murder and arson in the South Bay enclave of Palos Verdes. A band of rich local surfers bent on preserving their hold on Lunada Bay are terrorizing the Mexican day laborers who camp in the canyons surrounding the mansions they work in as houseboys and gardeners. As Liffey and his daughter Maeve search for the missing girl, they run afoul of a band of zealous border vigilantes, eager to help the locals defend their turf. The residents turn a blind eye to the war zone beyond their manicured hedges until a confrontation turns deadly. Shannon tackles a tough social issue with intelligence and a clear moral compass. His spare, noir style and articulate dialog strike just the right balance between thriller and social consciousness. His growing audience will love this. Recommended.
Susan Clifford Braun
From the Publisher
“Jack Liffey, the private investigator in John Shannon's mysteries, works the roughest territory in the genrethe subculture of the Southern California teenager. That doesn't begin to describe the harrowing rescue job he undertakes when he begins searching for a schoolgirl with a passionate commitment to protecting butterflies and other endangered species, including the illegal Mexican workers camping out on the cliffs above Lunada Bay. Unaware that his own impetuous teenage daughter is endangering herself by trying to help him, Liffey patiently excavates the area's social strata, uncovering layers of antagonism among the privileged rich and their anonymous day laborers, rival surfer gangs and a racist militia group prowling the hillshostility that bounces right back at parents from their alienated children. (Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times)”
“With a hero as brainy, compassionate, and conflicted as Liffey, the only real mystery is why these books aren’t bestsellers. (Keir Graf, Booklist)”
“A rewarding mystery that highlights Shannon's ability to sharply render subtle shades of right and wrong. (Publishers Weekly)”
“One of the finest and boldest detective series ever...an extended valentine to the battered, tattered City of Angels that never fails to entertain and challenge. (Kevin Burton Smith, January Magazine)”
Keir Graf - Booklist
“With a hero as brainy, compassionate, and conflicted as Liffey, the only real mystery is why these books aren’t bestsellers.”