Praise for Little Elvises
—NPR Great Reads of 2013 Selection
"Could not stop laughing. Tim Hallinan is sharp as a blade, has a wicked eye for human nature and keeps the reader guessing and rooting for Junior Bender all the way."
—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
"Hallinan introduces us to a drugged-out, pain-impervious hit man, a nonagenarian puppet master who rules the L.A. underworld, a tabloid reporter who uses his job as a cover to blackmail the rich and the famous, and a host of other characters as dangerously outrageous as the murderous crew obsessed with obtaining the black bird in Hammett's 1930 masterpiece."
"Every now and then a writer comes along with the imagination and skill to make the whole thing feel fresh and new again. That's what veteran crime novelist Timothy Hallinan has accomplished."
"The first book in the series, 'Crashed' (2012), was great fun. The new one, 'Little Elvises,' is even better."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"An intricate high-stakes plot [and] a compelling subplot."
"As the story opens, Junior is in a fix, or rather, a bunch of them..."
"Featuring Junior Bender, full-time Los Angeles burglar and part-time private eye-style fixer for the city's criminal element."
"For decades I've been looking to scratch my Fletch itch, and Crashed gave me hope it’s a well-written mystery with a smart, funny protagonist. I cracked open this sequel both hopeful that it would be as good and scared that I'd be let down. It didn't... Throw out everything you think you know about genre writing. Every word in this book belongs exactly where you find it."
—Bill Barnes, Unshelved
"If Carl Hiaasen and Donald Westlake had a literary love child, he would be Timothy Hallinan. The Edgar nominee's laugh-out-loud new crime series featuring Hollywood burglar-turned-private eye Junior Bender has breakout written all over it... A must-read."
—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of One Was a Soldier
“Rewarding.... Captures the SoCal milieu perfectly and impeccably.”
"Hugely,splendidly entertaining... Full of delightful characters, and dialogue that provides at least one good laugh on every page, the book is so hard to put down you’ll swear it’s been glued to your hands."
—Booklist, STARRED Review
“Hallinan’s characters and dialog are top-notch, with a lively plot full of witty banter and comic scenes that will keep readers laughing.”
"Little Elvises begs comparison to Tom Doresey or Carl Hiaasen novels: It's quirky and hip, and often laugh-out-loud funny."
—BookPage, TOP PICK
"One thing that immediately hits you about Timothy Hallinan’s writing is the clarity and snap of his prose. Junior Bender isn’t a gumshoe, but the cadence of his voice and his observations harken back to other great detectives who were expert at landing a crucial, devastating remark, as well as using their fists or a pistol. It’s a cliché, of course, to bring up Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe, but the similarities are nevertheless present in fitting ways."
—Derek Hill, Mystery Scene
"A nifty plot...[that] takes a surprising and satisfying twist in the final chapters."
Praise for the Junior Bender Series
"Junior Bender is today’s Los Angeles as Raymond Chandler might have written it. Tim [Hallinan] is a master at tossing out the kind of hard-boiled lines that I wish I thought of first."
—Bruce DeSilva, Macavity & Edgar Award-winning author of Rogue Island
"Timothy Hallinan's The Fame Thief has everything I've come to expect in a Hallinan novel: indelible, complex characters, fantastic plot, and moments of hold-your-breath suspense."
—Charlaine Harris, author of the New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series
"Loved loved loved Crashed, Tim Hallinan's first Junior Bender mystery. Great narrative voice, complex plot, 3-D characters. Hallinan’s deft comic tone and colorful characters have earned him comparisons to Donald Westlake and Carl Hiassen. Check it out now."
"Timothy Hallinan’s affable antihero, an accomplished thief but inept sleuth named Junior Bender, makes a terrific first impression in Crashed.... Bender’s quick wit and smart mouth make him a boon companion on this oddball adventure."
—New York Times Book Review
“This is Hallinan at the top of his game. It's laugh-out-loud funny without ever losing any of its mystery. It’s a whole new style and I love it. Junior Bender—a crook with a heart of gold—is one of Hallinan's most appealing heroes, rich with invention, and brimming with classic wit. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
—Shadoe Stevens, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
"This is one of those books you long for, wait for, and find once or twice a year"
—Beth Kanell, proprietor of Kingdom Books, Vermont
“Timothy Hallinan does everything a writer should do whose goal is to keep a reader entertained from the first sentence to the last.”
“The writing is intelligent, relaxed, and fun to read. Crashed is a pleasurable outing, without the personal risk, to the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles, where moral ambiguity fills the air.”
—Read Me Deadly
“If you're in the mood for a mystery that's just plain fun, this is the one for you... Timothy Hallinan knows how to write a smart aleck main character who has his own set of morals and a heart of gold.”
Praise for Timothy Hallinan
“Hallinan has a genuine ability to write effective prose, engaging repartee, sharp and witty characterizations.”
—Washington Post Book World
“Hallinan is a stunning talent.”
—Gregg Hurwitz, author of They're Watching
Hallinan’s second Junior Bender mystery (after 2010’s Crashed) sends the L.A. burglar/PI on a journey into pop music’s supposedly innocuous 1950s past, mixing light and dark humor to enjoyable if uneven effect. Framed by LAPD Lt. Paulie DiGaudio for a residential robbery gone violently wrong, Bender finds he can restore his (relatively) good name by clearing DiGaudio’s uncle, Vinnie, a now retired, but still mobbed-up, music promoter, of a separate crime, the murder of tabloid hack Derek Bigelow. Junior discovers that Vinnie’s old lineup of faux-Elvis teen idols may be key to the crime, while he works on his testy relationships with Derek’s beguiling New Jersey widow, Ronnie; his own 13-year-old daughter, Rina; and the shadowy gangland powerbroker Irwin Dressler. The skewed, Runyonesque Southern California setting, epitomized by Junior’s home, the seedy but festively Yule-themed Marge ’n Ed’s North Pole motel, promises much for further outings, despite occasional lapses in taste and a shaky conclusion. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (Jan.)
Junior Bender is a Los Angeles burglar who always seems to be doing a little sleuthing for other crooks in the city. He's got three rules: no mob guys, no murder cases, and no freebies. But when a crooked music industry mogul, a famed producer of the 1960s pop sensations deemed "Little Elvises," forces Junior to prove that he did not murder a tabloid journalist, Junior decides breaking two of his three rules would be okay, especially if he still gets paid. The case turns complicated, and Junior also has to deal with his heavy-drinking landlady's missing daughter. Then his ex-wife and teen daughter both turn up with new boyfriends. Can't a hard-working burglar-turned-detective ever catch a break? VERDICT In this second series outing (after Crashed), Hallinan's characters and dialog are top-notch, with a lively plot full of witty banter and comic scenes that will keep readers laughing. The author of the Thailand-set Poke Rafferty thrillers (The Queen of Patpong) first self-published this trilogy (next up is The Fame Thief) titles as ebooks.
In Hallinan's Los Angeles, where everyone leans on everyone else, investigator/thief Junior Bender gets leaned on good. Everyone knows that Junior didn't pull the Hammer job. Junior (Crashed, 2012) doesn't carry a gun, and the whole job wasn't his style. Still, Detective Paulie DiGaudio darkly intimates, Junior could end up in the frame if he's not willing to do a little favor for Paulie's Uncle Vincent. Like Junior, Vincent, a former Philadelphia music promoter who specialized in grooming Elvis Presley wannabes a generation ago, is suspected of a violent crime. Unlike Junior, Vincent is definitely a live suspect, since he'd threatened to kill low-rent British journalist Derek Bigelow over a little spot of blackmail shortly before Bigelow conveniently turned up dead on Hollywood Boulevard. Now, Vincent has troubles, which means that Paulie has troubles, which means that Junior has troubles. But the search for Bigelow's killer, which will bring Junior up against some people considerably more hard-bitten than the sometime-thief, isn't the extent of his troubles. Marge Enderby, his landlady of the month--for the past three years, Junior's been moving from one dead-end motel to the next to keep ahead of anyone who might be looking for him--wants him to find her daughter Doris, who shows signs of having run off with Lorne Henry Pivensey, aka Lemuel Huff, a man whose earlier experience with vanished women isn't at all encouraging. Junior, who tiptoes reluctantly into both cases prepared for the worst, is pleasantly surprised when Bigelow's widow, Ronnie, returns his interest with interest. Versatile Hallinan (The Fear Artist, 2012, etc.) provides a wealth of seamy types, past and present, and a thousand hard-boiled similes for his second-string Philip Marlowe.