King Maybe, by Timothy Hallinan
Junior Bender is one smart thief — maybe a little too smart for his own good. It’s not that he over analyzes situations, or over-thinks his plans. It’s just that other LA crooks recognize how his mind works, and try to get him to do their thinking FOR them. And sometimes they even get him to do their crimes, not always voluntarily.
So when what should be a straightforward burglary turns deadly dangerous, it isn’t too long before Junior finds himself at the mercy, and in front of the guns (and baseball bats) of some highly suspicious characters.
But that’s nothing compared to who’s waiting behind door number three. One of the most powerful people in Hollywood needs Junior’s services — a sinister, controlling man who decides the fate of far too many, and for too many of the wrong reasons. And he isn’t ready or willing to take no for an answer.
All that and relationship woes, as well as drama with his ex-wife, his teenage daughter, and her freshly-dumped boyfriend? What’s a first-rate second-story guy to do…?
In Junior’s case, it’s to turn to his well-tended network of friends, allies, and people who might not like him, but either owe him one, or could be persuaded to. And he’ll need to them all, plus a few tricks he didn’t know he had, when he goes to do the bidding of King Maybe.
Between the three series Timothy Hallinan has been writing, he’s earned a well-deserved reputation for writing smart and heartfelt stories about clever and cunning people who, when presented with two or more bad options, play all sides against one another to get through. In that sense, King Maybe is nothing new, as Bender manages to tie it all together in a well-wrapped, clever bow.
However, this installment stands out from its predecessors for delivering what is doubtlessly one of the best, and least expected stunners in any of his books thus far. To say more would be, well, criminal, but I will suggest that Maybe is definitely not the best place to jump into this excellent series, given how many old faces show up. You’d be better off starting from Crashed, and working your way forward.
– Jim Tremlett, Eastwood