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March 10, 2013 / schulerbooks

Little Elvises, by Timothy Hallinan

9781616952778

Junior Bender? He’s a burglar. He’s also a really smart guy — the sort of person that other crooks press-gang into solving their problems when things get a little too cerebral for them to handle. In fact, he just handled a pretty complex and nasty problem for a few fairly nasty people. Maybe you read about it?

Well, no sooner does Junior extricate himself from one set of problems than he gets tied up in another. But this time, it’s a detective who’s trying to pull his strings. It seems his uncle — former music impresario Vinnie DiGaudio — is being accused of killing a scumbag reporter who wouldn’t stop sticking his nose into his business. Unfortunately, the uncle actually did threaten that reporter a couple times, and was planning on killing him, which makes it a little harder to prove he didn’t.

Not an easy matter to handle, but that’s not the only problem with this case. For one thing, Junior’s being hit on by the dead journalist’s very foxy wife, who’s really not too seemingly sorry that he’s dead. The fact that she’s playing the merry widow to the hilt makes it harder for him to ignore that a spouse is often the number one suspect in the murder, but there’s just something about her that makes him hope this isn’t the case.

He’s also stalked by a very disturbing and violent fellow who seems to want him out of this matter. And then there’s the landlady of the hotel he holes up at, and the fact that her daughter’s missing, and wouldn’t it be nice if he could find her? And what is up with that crazy, unpleasant woman who looks after Vinnie?

And if you think that’s complicated?It also turns out that Junior’s ex-wife and daughter have both started dating men he really doesn’t care for.

It’s enough of a crash-up to hobble any well-meaning art thief, especially when he finds a number of very weird and disturbing things going on under the surface of all these concerns. But, after how masterfully Junior handled the problem in his first book, Crashed, you just know he’s got a few tricks up his sleeves.

With Little Elvises, Timothy Hallinan provides another fun and intriguing LA caper, replete with swift action, good characters, and a payoff that’ll have you cheering. If you like a book where you want to root for the crook, and be shown the parts of the city of angels that the tourbooks warn you away from, the latest installment of this series is a sure bet. It’s fast, fun, and has a heart of gold under the grime.

Little Elvises is out now, and can be ordered from any of our stores.

– Jim Tremlett, Eastwood

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