Sunday, July 14, 2013

Little Elvises by Timorhy Hallinan

Imagine you're a burglar. But not just any burglar; you're a very good burglar, who has been breaking into homes since you were 14, and never been caught. Not only are you good at your job, you're intelligent, self-educated, particular about grammar, a caring dad, and a loyal friend. And, you're being framed by a cop who wants you to do a bit of detecting to get his somewhat slimy uncle off the hook for a murder it looks like he committed. Got it? Good. You've entered the world of Junior Bender.

This was my second foray into Junior's world, and I still like it. I feel like I've found a successor to two of my favorite authors, who have gone to the great beyond, and left me pining for Spencer and Dortmunder.

Junior takes on the "invitation" to investigate the murder of a somewhat skeezy reporter, a murder which looks to be pinned on a former big shot in the music industry of the 1950's (aka Uncle Vinnie to a corrupt cop). Uncle Vinnie made his fortune back in Philly, promoting young singers in the style of Elvis and Bobby Darin.  Add in the attractive widow of the dead reporter, who seems to be more interested in Junior than her husband, alive or dead, the missing daughter of Junior's landlady, new romances for both his ex-wife and his teen-age daughter which create distinct pains in various parts of Junior's anatomy, a heist of valuable jade, two missing former child music stars represented by Uncle Vinne, and a growing cast of good supporting characters, and Little Elvisestakes on a beat of its own. Plus, Hallinan gives a really thorough and interesting history of the pre-Beatles music, blended skillfully into the story.

A third Junior Bender came out last week, and I've already put in a request for it.

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