Nicolae Polscaru, a three-and-a-half-foot-tall dwarf, is tossed into a Hollywood swimming pool by four drunken screenwriters, who take bets on how long he can tread water. Minor Jackson, his OSS training still fresh a year after World War II's end, beats the bullies senseless and pulls Nicolae from the water. A friendship is born. Jackson is broke, his spying days over, and Nicolae offers him a job.
Philip St. Ives has no love for New York’s drafty, broken-down Adelphi Hotel, but he is in no mood to be evicted from it. His cash dwindling, he is happy to learn about a job that calls for his specific talents as a mediator between thieves and their victims. It sounds like the set-up to a bad joke: A thief, an insurance salesman, and the Library of Congress call Philip’s lawyer to ask about a stolen copy of Pliny’s Historia Naturalis. To find it, Philip will risk becoming history himself.
"The Go Between Man"
American agents abduct a high-profile terrorist in broad daylight on the streets of London, subduing him with a tranquilizer. He dies a few hours later on a flight back to Washington, DC, and the body is dropped into the ocean. Hours later, the President's brother - a political powerhouse in his own right - boards a plane to Las Vegas that doesn't land in Nevada. Libyan radicals are at the controls, and he is their prisoner. The only man who can save him is Chubb Dunjee.
Sid and Ronnie Abel are a first-rate husband-and-wife detective team, both retirees of the LAPD. Ed and Nicole Hoyt are married assassins for hire living in the San Fernando Valley. Except for deadly aim with a handgun, the two couples have little in common - until they are both hired to do damage control on the same murder case. The previous spring, after days of torrential rain, a body was recovered from one of the city's overwhelmed storm sewers.
"A Solid Suspense Novel"
In this brand-new novella, Keller, everyone's favorite assassin for hire, is Chicago-bound on Amtrak's City of New Orleans, ready to do what he does best. But it's complicated. Usually there's someone ready to point him toward the target. Or he'll have a photo, say. Or, bare minimum, a name and address. Not this time. When he gets to Baker's Bluff, Illinois, he'll have to play private detective before he can get down to business. Well, okay. He knows how it works. So before he even packs his suitcase, Keller buys a fedora.
"marvelous as usual "
In the woods outside the town of Willnot, the remains of several people have suddenly been discovered, unnerving the community and unsettling Hale, the town's all-purpose general practitioner, surgeon, and conscience. At the same time, Bobby Lowndes - a man being followed by the FBI - mysteriously reappears in his hometown at Hale's door. Over the ensuing months, the daily dramas Hale faces as he tends to his town and to his partner, Richard, collide with the swerves and turns of life in Willnot.
Calvin Sidey - steely, hardened, with his own personal code - is one of the last cowboys. It's the 1960s, and he's living off the grid in a trailer on the prairie when his adult son, Bill, seeks his help. A mostly absentee father and grandfather, Calvin nevertheless agrees to stay with his grandchildren for a week. He decamps for his son's house in the small town where he once was a mythic figure, and soon enough problems arise: A boy's attentions to 17-year-old Ann are increasingly aggressive, and a group of reckless kids portend danger for 11-year-old Will.
Nick Mason has already spent five years inside a maximum security prison when an offer comes that will grant his release 20 years early. He accepts - but the deal comes with a terrible price. Now, back on the streets, Nick Mason has a new house, a new car, money to burn, and a beautiful roommate. He's returned to society, but he's still a prisoner. Whenever his cell phone rings, day or night, Nick must answer it and follow whatever order he is given.
"Superb Chicago Noir"
On its surface life in Houston in the 1950s is as you'd expect: stoic fathers, restless teens, drive-in movies, and souped-up Cadillacs. But underneath lies a world shifting under high school junior Aaron Broussard's feet. There's a class war between the "haves" and the "have-nots" as well as a real war, Korea, happening on the other side of the world. It is against this backdrop that Aaron comes of age, trying to understand how first loves, friendship, violence, and power can alter what "traditional America" means for the people trying to find their way in a changing world.
Jane Whitefield is a Native American guide who leads solitary outcasts through hostile territory to escape the vengeance of their enemies. But the shaded forest paths her Seneca ancestors might have followed on such missions have all been converted to superhighways, and now the safest way stations are crowded urban buildings that offer the camouflage of anonymity. Still, the supply of runaways - and the need for a woman who will take great risks to save them - have never been greater.
"The Book - 4 Stars; Narration - 3 Stars"
Who exactly is Danziger? He's a writer of letters for illiterate immigrants on Manhattan's Lower East Side - "a steadfast practitioner of concealing and forgetting" for his clients, and perhaps for himself: He hints at a much worldlier past. What and whoever he really is or has been, he has a seemingly boundless knowledge of the city and its denizens. And he knows much more than the mere identity of the floating corpse.
"Mobsters and Cops, NYC, 1942"
Kevin Pearce - baseball star, honor student, the pride of Brighton - was 15 when he left town in the back of his uncle's cab. He and his buddy, Bobby Scales, had just committed heinous violence for what they thought were the best of reasons. Kevin didn't want a pass, but he was getting it anyway. Bobby would stay and face the music; Kevin's future would remain as bright as ever. At least that was the way things were supposed to work, except in Brighton things never work the way they're supposed to.
©2009 Ross Thomas; (P)2009 Phoenix
"Robert Culp does great"
I love Ross Thomas stories and this one is a good one. Robert Culp has the perfect wry voice for narrating this. I wish he had done more books before he had gone. RIP.
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