Monday, August 22, 2011

Noteworthy Reads: LITTLE ELVISES by Timothy Hallinan

            This is the second title in a new series by Edgar-nominee Hallinan, author of the acclaimed Poke Rafferty series (recipient of said Edgar nom) and also the Simeon Grist PI novels.
            The protagonist of LITTLE ELVISES is Junior Bender, first introduced in last year's CRASHED. Bender is a very successful burglar, having plied this trade since his late teens without ever being caught. He also has a sideline: He is a private eye … of sorts. The only clients he takes on, you see, are crooks. When someone does something crooked to a crook, the cops are hardly an option. That leaves Junior.
            This time out Junior is leveraged by a corrupt detective to go to the aid of an old record producer who, back in the Sixties, made a big name for himself by taking good-looking (though not necessarily talented) young men off the streets of Philadelphia and grooming them to become—for a few weeks, maybe a year tops—singing heartthrobs for idolizing teenaged girls … In other words, Elvis Presley knock-offs or "Little Elvises". This producer is now facing a murder charge for killing a sleazy journalist he had openly made threats against and it is Junior's job to try and uncover the real killer.
            There are subplots, plot twists, and colorful characters galore as Bender delves into the case. Junior himself is a very engaging character, a guy still in love with his ex wife and tortured by being separated from his 12-year-old daughter. But the real star here is Hallinan's writing; he is a skilled craftsman who does pathos, action, humor, and suspense with equal effectiveness, not to mention vividly painting scenes and characters. His dialogue crackles and the banter between characters is bound to make you smile and sometimes even laugh out loud.
            Junior Bender's world may not be a place where you'd want to live, but it sure is fun to read about and LITTLE ELVISES is a top-notch example.
Be sure to check out this and other works  by this fine author. You can learn more about him by visiting his web site at which also links to his blog.
Also of note is that Tim is the editor of an anthology titled SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN whose entire sales earnings  (even Amazon is foregoing its standard cut) go to the Japan Relief Fund. Those brave people still need all the help they can get so this is a way to enjoy some good reading and contribute to a good cause all at the same time.

Persevere --- WD

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