CRASHED by Tim Hallinan

Book Quote:

For me, it’s a wall safe. From my somewhat specialized perspective, a wall safe is the perfect object. To you, it may be a hole in the wall with a door on it. To me, it’s one hundred percent potential. There’s absolutely no way to know what’s in there. You can only be sure of one thing: Whatever it is, it means a hell of a lot to somebody. Maybe it’s what they’d run into traffic for. A wall safe is just a question mark. With an answer inside. Janice hadn’t told me there would be a safe behind the picture. We’d discussed everything but that. And, of course, that—meaning the thing I hadn’t anticipated—was what screwed me.

Book Review:

Review by Katherine Petersen  (MAR 20, 2011)

Well-known for his Simeon Grist and Poke Rafferty Bangkok series, Tim Hallinan introduces a new series character in Crashed. Junior Bender is a top-of-the-line crook, hired for specific jobs, and pretty much working when his child support payments come due. Junior is also a private investigator, and most of the time, he works for the down-and-out, the underdog and/or those who can’t defend themselves. In essence, he’s a burglar with a good heart.

Junior’s latest assignment has him stealing a painting from a hard-to-enter home, but he finds a safe containing diamonds while he’s in there which delays his exit. These extra few minutes give the big dogs out back a chance to get inside and launch an attack. Junior’s escape resembles an action scene on the big screen that involves a sedative and a chandelier, and he manages to get out of the house with only cuts and bruises only to find himself in a worse situation: a crooked cop has a gun to his head.

It gets complicated but essentially Junior has to help prevent the sabotage of a porn film or the video of him stealing the painting will be given to the painting’s owner who might, in turn, feed Junior to his dogs. The problem for Junior is the film’s lead is a former child star who captivated viewers for many years before her talent faded and she turned to drugs and lost much of her earnings to lawyers and her interfering mother and jealous brother. Thistle Downing fits the bill as the type of person Junior normally helps. But the plot is complicated and puts Junior in a bind as to how to proceed and remain alive.

Saying Tim Hallinan is a master at plot, characterization and pitch-perfect dialogue is a serious understatement. In the hands of Hallinan’s talent, Junior’s character shines through, and you want him to find a way to make everything work out right. Thistle hasn’t had an easy life, but she’s got sass and spunk along with her drug dependence. Hallinan introduces a bevy of eclectic supporting cast members too, including Doc, a now-unlicensed physician whose personal mission is to help Thistle get clean and Trey Annunziato, a mob boss who is producing the film and many believe had her own father killed. Crashed combines serious issues and laugh-out-loud humor while remaining true to the mystery form. The plot contains enough twists to keep the reader guessing, and it’s a toss-up if you want to race to the end to see what happens or just savor the journey of getting there because you can only read a terrific book for the first time once.

AMAZON READER RATING: from 137 readers
PUBLISHER: Hallinan Consulting, LLC (November 16, 2010)
REVIEWER: Katherine Petersen
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:


Poke Rafferty, Bangkok series:

Junior Bender, Burglar series:

Simeon Grist, Los Angeles series:

March 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Humorous, Sleuths Series

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