Thursday, October 8, 2015

Paul Bishop's LIE CATCHERS (from ThiefTaker to LieCatcher)

I’ve known Paul Bishop --- mostly via correspondence and a few phone calls back in the day --- for over a quarter of a century. We even met in person once at a Bouchercon (Minneapolis, I think it was) several years hence.

The thing that initially brought us together was Hardboiled, the small press magazine I used to put out. Paul submitted some terrific short stories that I was proud to publish in HB. One of them, featuring his too seldom used PI Quint, was nominated for a Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America (that might have been the year we got together in Minneapolis).

What I hadn’t thought about in a long time was the fact that when I was starting Hardboiled, Paul was just finishing up with a small press publication of his own called The Thieftaker Journal. (A “thieftaker” is an old English term for a policeman.) I only read a couple issues and have to admit that my cobwebby old brain doesn’t really remember much about them. But when I saw the title of Paul’s new book, LIE CATCHERS, it immediately took me back --- Thief-TAKER, Lie-CATCHER. Just a quirky, personal thing I suppose, but I sure wish I still had my old copies of The Thieftaker Journal to look back through.

The good news, though, is that I do have --- and have read --- LIE CATCHERS. And it is terrific. Paul always spins an entertaining yarn, in whatever genre he’s writing in, but with his police procedurals, as a bonus, you also know you’re getting the real deal as far as behind-the-scene facts. Some cop writers put out a solid tale as far as the factual side of things but are weak in the entertainment part to keep their stories moving along. Not Paul. He peppers his police/crime writing with colorful characters and writing skill that rockets the story forward and compels the reader to keep turning the pages (or flipping to the next screen on an e-reader). Further evidence of his writing skill is the way he captures the voice/POV of “Calamity Jane” Randall in LIE CATCHERS. That’s damn hard to do, but Paul nails it. Which takes nothing away from the secondary lead in this tale --- Ray Pagan --- who strides off the pages fully realized and memorable.

The extra good news is that this is the start of a new series. But don't wait --- jump right in at the beginning.
Highly recommended!