Catching Water in a Net

Catching Water in a Net

by J.L. Abramo


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Winner of the 2000 St. Martin's Press/PWA Award for Best First Private Eye Novel!

San Francisco PI Jake Diamond is a hero who plays both sides of the private eye street. He is a careless dresser with a sloppy lifestyle and he couldn't keep his marriage from falling apart. But he also epitomizes the best of the modern shamus. He has the kinds of friends a man in his profession needs-jailbirds, mob bosses, and a cop who can surreptitiously run license plate numbers for him.

Jake has been down on his luck lately, barely making enough money to pay the bills but it looks like business might finally be picking up. A woman comes to his office begging him to find her missing husband who has been accused of murder. Jake remembers that his mentor Jimmy Pigeon always says "Whenever I'm asked to locate a missing spouse, the words 'no, but thanks for asking' always come to mind" and almost turns the case down, but then he learns that the murder victim was Jimmy Pigeon.

Determined to discover the identity of Pigeon's killer, Diamond scrambles between Los Angeles and San Francisco following leads that range from weak to delusional. With the help of his trusty and sarcastic assistant, Darlene Roman, compulsive gambler Vinnie "String" Stradivarius, and Italian-American "businessman" Joey Russo, Jake slowly uncovers the motives behind Pigeon's murder.

Jake's adventure has all the components of a great new private eye series-scares, suspense, lots of laughs, a few tears and a big surprise at the end.


"San Franciscan narrator Jake Diamond easily fits the traditional hard-boiled, whiskey-in-a-drawer, office-on-a-shoestring private eye mold. And the cryptic, hammered-out prose accentuates his dilemma: find the man who allegedly killed Jake's former mentor in Los Angeles. Jake finds his man but too late. Now he extends his search to the guy who wanted to purchase the dead pair's website business. The obligatory sultry ex-wife, characters with names like Willie Dogtail and Vinnie Stradivarius, and picturesque thugs complicate the plot and add to the atmosphere." -Library Journal

"First novelist Abramo has the hard-boiled private eye formula down pat-perhaps even too pat. Diamond exhibits every PI cliche in the book, from the bottle in his desk drawer to his antagonistic relationship with the police. On the other hand, the novel is solidly written and captures the mood of the genre." -Booklist

"Abramo's novel brings back the spirit of Chandler and Spillane in a way that's original while paying tribute to its genre predecessors." -The State

"Abramo echoes themes from some of the great crime writers past and present, adding a great deal of his own." -John Dantzler, co-author Hiking South Carolina

"Abramo keeps the twists coming fast enough that readers have no choice but to keep turning pages." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Fast-paced...ought to please pulp die-hards." -Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937495480
Publisher: Down & Out Books II, LLC
Publication date: 03/04/2013
Pages: 274
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

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Catching Water in a Net 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Catching Water In A Net by J.L. Abramo deservedly won the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America Award for Best First Private Eye Novel. Abramo echoed themes from some of the greatest crime writers of the past and present, while adding a great deal of his own. Part of what Abramo achieved was to combine the best elements of Dashiell Hammett and Andrew Vachss, possibly the premier writers ever to work in this field. The hard-boiled aspects, the friendly adversary relationship between Jake and the police, the loyal female sidekick and the rotten lowdown dames are all reminiscent of The Maltese Falcon. The friends and friendly acquaintances growing together into a strong extended family, non-biological but no weaker for that, has always been the best thing in Andrew Vachss for me. And Abramo is way funnier than Kinky Friedman. What you have here is a warm-hearted book about a man growing up a bit late while trying to solve the murder of his mentor and avoiding a wide array of perils from no-goodniks and police alike, all handled with aplomb and wit by Abramo. Abramo also slips in a Charles Dickens subtext, pretty brainy stuff for the genre. St. Martin's Press promises a series. I, for one, can't wait.
Like_Bookends More than 1 year ago
Friends of Jake Diamond, hold onto your tablets because here comes the digital version of your favorite detective. Sure we know all about the nefarious use of digital realms, Jake solved that mystery for us in Catching Water in a Net. Now we can read all about it again using our portable digital readers from a host of providers. Jake goes multi-channel, who would have ever guessed that scenario. Whether you're back again for the foodie aspects, or the deepening plot lines that require a trilogy of capers to solve, having Jake along with you at beach or on your commute while using your favorite tablet, smart phone, netbook or even the stationary MAC or PC will beat any other summer book read you can find. Forgeddaboutit, if you aren't hip enough to be digital, if you snooze you lose in Jake Diamond's world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, I was really impressed with how this guy can capture and pull you into this story. Really like his writing style. I cannot believe more people have not read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read - bring more like it
harstan More than 1 year ago
Jake Diamond owns Diamond Investigations, a San Francisco based private investigative firm. In fact, Jake works as the company¿s only investigator with an office assistant keeping the case records (as few as they are) and his tie clean. Based on the recommendation of a friend who once hired Jake, Evelyn Harding wants to retain the sleuth to look for her missing husband Harry, vanished for four days.

Not interested beyond making a quick buck, his interest soon peaks when he learns that Harry was a partner of Jimmy Pigeon, Jake¿s mentor and teacher in the private investigative business. Jake learns that LAPD believes Harry Killed Jimmy with the motive being an argument over whether to sell their million dollar net-based business. Because of the identity of the victim, Jake drives to LA allegedly to find Harry, but in reality to insure Jimmy's killer receives justice.

With this debut novel, JL Abramo became the winner of the St. Martin¿s Press PWA Award for Best First Private Eye Novel. Sub-genre fans, who read CATCHING WATER IN A NET, will agree with that assessment as the engaging story line is amusing yet somewhat coarse mostly due to the antics of the lead protagonist. Jake is a wonderful lead character who the audience will find enticing and demand more of his adventures. Using the homicide of his revered guru as the impetus for Jake¿s involvement cleverly allows readers to learn more about the hero while the plot flows forward. This novel lives up to the award it already won.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But the main ones were likable so I read on.
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