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Black Maps | [Peter Spiegelman]

Black Maps

John March is a former cop now working as a P.I. in Manhattan. Haunted by his past, work is what keeps him sane, but his current case threatens to have the opposite effect. It involves an attempted extortion; an investment banker with some serious skeletons in his closet; and a money launderer diabolically adept at both psychological and physical intimidation.
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Publisher's Summary

John March is a former cop now working as a P.I. in Manhattan. Haunted by his past, work is what keeps him sane, but his current case threatens to have the opposite effect. It involves an attempted extortion; an investment banker with some serious skeletons in his closet; and a money launderer diabolically adept at both psychological and physical intimidation.

March is the perfect man for the job. His family's wealth comes from banking, so when he begins to follow the paper trail that might lead to the extortionist, he knows what he's looking at. But this paper trail is stained with blood, and scattered with powerful emotional echoes from his past, and before March has reached the end, his own blood may be added to it.

©2003 Peter Spiegelman; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Nothing about this stylish, literate mystery reads like a debut, as Spiegelman handles the complex plot with verve....John March is one of the most intriguing new PIs to come along in quite some time, and if this strong first outing is any indication, he should be in for a long and enjoyable run." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (69 )
5 star
 (12)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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3.6 (11 )
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Story
3.7 (13 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jerry Magnolia, TX, USA 08-20-05
    Jerry Magnolia, TX, USA 08-20-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    141
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    "Incredibly mixed bag, this one..."

    This book has an excellent premise and the story is executed with intrigue and suspense. Unfortunately, it also has a couple of problems: First, the protagonist has a stupid streak that makes him hard to root for. He does idiotic things and then repeats them. This being a first novel, I'm hopeful that the author will improve his character development going forward.

    The second problem is huge: The descriptions. Oh my, let me see if I can find the words to accurately describe this problem. This author describes EVERYTHING worn by EVERY character in EVERY situation, and he does it EVERY time they appear. By page 100, I was ready to scream, and this problem is pronounced enough that I won't make it through his future books if they're the same way. I have no idea what he was thinking, and it's unfathomable that the publisher didn't insist on paring this practice back during the editing process.

    NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, is left to the reader's imagination. Each time a character appears, he describes every stitch of clothing, from the shape of boot heels to the style of earrings to the color of hair ribbon, the hairstyle, the pants, the shirts, the blouse, the scarf. Matters not if they're walking down the street or staring into the muzzle of a gun, he's gonna tell us EXACTLY what they're wearing. If there are a group of people present, he ticks through each one like this. It's not limited to characters, of course. We get the same level of minutiae for every building, every room we enter, and basically every piece of furniture in every room. It's utterly maddening, and it's made worse in the audiobook format since you can't skim through this nonsense.

    I want to like this author because of the good story and interesting premise. I can only hope that someone somewhere helps him understand the seriousness of this problem. Reading is about visualizing, about imagination. It's not television and it's not necessary to try to turn it into that kind of experience.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nan Buckingham, VA, United States 03-28-04
    Nan Buckingham, VA, United States 03-28-04 Member Since 2001

    I am a commercial artist working in my studio in central Virginia. Audible keeps me company and extends my painting hours.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mixed Reaction"

    I usually choose male authors for the simple reason that women have a tendency to overdo their description. Part of the enjoyment of listening is using one's imagination to create scenes and characters in the mind. This author was able to sustain my interest with the intricate plot, but he described in minute detail every interior, article of clothing, and physical characteristic. Even in the most dire circumstances and exciting action, he stopped to mention what everyone was wearing. If this is a first novel, I certainly hope Mr. Speigleman writes more books, but learns to leave something for the listener to visualize.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    12-01-04
    12-01-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    Overall
    "Excellent novel"

    Scott Brick is an outstanding reader, so I'll listen to almost anything he reads. I was surprised and pleased with how much I liked this book. The suspense and plot development are excellent, and unlike another reviewer, I thought the various descriptions in the book added texture and substance to the story. I would compare this book favorably to Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 10-19-11
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 10-19-11 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    590
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    213
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    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Favorite Author Who Doesn't Disappoint here."

    Nicely plotted hard-boiled dick novel and then tied together well with characters that shimmer. Liked it, recommend it. Enjoy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Morgan Austin, TX, United States 03-01-11
    Morgan Austin, TX, United States 03-01-11 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
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    "Good story – terrible narrator"

    I really liked this book. At least I really liked the story, but it was really hard to stay focused on the writing what with the narrator, Scott Brick, treating every sentence as a dramatic reading. I had to keep backing up to re-hear passages since in my annoyance I would start thinking of how a normal person would narrate it. What a Drama Queen he is. Author and story were great though. I would have given more stars if it were a better narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vigen West Hills, CA, United States 02-27-10
    Vigen West Hills, CA, United States 02-27-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
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    Overall
    "Good mystery book"

    If you enjoy murder mystery, you'll enjoy this too. The author draws each character and scene in a very good way, with a brief intro to the character and moves on with the story, so you are not confused. Well written with good pace. I'll be looking forward for more books by the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Fayetteville, AR, United States 01-07-08
    Dan Fayetteville, AR, United States 01-07-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    455
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    57
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    92
    4
    Overall
    "Good first effort"

    The book review said this was the author's first effort and it was well done. Good story line with lots of plot twists and turns and sustained action. The main character was generally believable and not the run of the mill cop turned PI. I was a little put off by the author's desire to describe everyone's clothes with enough detail that it made me think they mattered. I finally decided that since this was his first effort in this genre he may have kept a day job in a clothing store.

    I will give him another try and hope he decides to focus a little less on aimless description. The character is good and can be further developed and the author knows how to tell a story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Brentwood, TN, United States 12-15-05
    Dave Brentwood, TN, United States 12-15-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    Overall
    "Great first effort"

    Others hypercritical comments don't have much to do with the fact that this is a book you'll not regret getting. I hope the next book by this author will be out soon.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hav9 07-30-07
    Hav9 07-30-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    10
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    Overall
    "Good Listen"

    I liked John March and I thought the narrator was good overall, but he did tend to make some of his characters sound a little too much alike which then made the story line a little more difficult to follow.

    I would listen again to this author to follow John March and see if he is a character that I would continue to care about.

    Only 3 stars because I have nothing to compare it to.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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