A pair of cops hunt the killer of the most beautiful hooker on Chicago’s North Side. On a blistering Chicago afternoon, the Cubs are winning and Abe Lieberman is waiting to meet a prostitute. This mild-mannered old police detective still has a few tricks up his sleeves - and one of them is named Estralda Valdez. One of the city’s loveliest women of the night, she is Lieberman’s most prized confidential informant, and she needs help with a psychotic john. Though they suspect she’s only paranoid, Lieberman and his partner, Bill Hanrahan, agree to watch Valdez’s back.
"How can this man write so much, and so well?"
Bernie Shepard comes home with a shotgun. He opens the door to his bedroom, and sees what he expected - his wife in bed with another cop. Two pumps of the shotgun take care of them, and Shepard carries out the rest of his plan. Accompanied by his dog, this half-mad detective goes to the roof of his building, where he has built a small fortress stocked with food, water, and weapons. Talking Shepard down falls to Abe Lieberman and Bill Hanrahan, the odd-couple partners in Chicago homicide.
"15 Stars for Lieberman's Allegory!"
In a posh part of Chicago’s North Side, two Trinidadian men look for someone to jump. Waiting outside an apartment building, they see a couple shivering in the cold as they make their way to their car. The Trinidadians draw guns, demand money - and quickly go too far. Shots ring out, and the muggers run. Behind them, the man is dead, and his pregnant wife lays bleeding in the street.The murder victim is the nephew of Abe Lieberman, one of the most dignified cops in Chicago homicide. When he learns of the killing, Lieberman’s calm facade cracks. As he works with his partner, Bill Hanrahan, to find the killers, Lieberman makes a pact with the devil....
"You are in the hands of a true master; a mensch."
Inspector Rostnikov is a Russian bear of a man, an honest policeman in a very dishonest post-Soviet Russia. Known as "The Washtub", Rostnikov is one of the most engaging and relevant characters in crime fiction, a sharp and caring policeman as well as the perfect tour guide to a changing (that is, disintegrating) Russia. Surviving pogroms and politburos, he has solved crimes, mostly in spite of the powers that rule his world.
The Moscow Film Festival may lack Cannes' boats, bikinis, and gentle breezes, but it has nevertheless attracted scores of international actors, directors, and deal-makers. For some, the festival represents Moscow's re-emergence as a world-class city. But for a gang of zealots headed by a beautiful brunette, the festival represents a target, and they have been attacking the "film people" with frightening efficiency. Desperate to avoid embarrassment, the Kremlin is trying to cover up the killings. And desperate to stop the killers, the KGB has put Inspector Rostnikov on the case.
Lew Fonesca is still a freelance process server, still has his office behind a Dairy Queen in Sarasota, and is still the friend of the poor and outcast. Now, he has two more cases he doesn't want, cases that will lead unerringly to the discovery of murder.
The Victims: An unscrupulous cab driver. The killer's own frightened wife. Most troublesome of all, an outspoken dissident, watched closely by the KGB, whose trial had been set for the very next day. The Weapons: A heavy iron-headed hammer. A rusty, antiquated sickle. And a broken vodka bottle. The Cops:Tkach, who seduces suspects into confessing with his apparent innocence. Karpo, a bit of a Tartar, a bit of a vampire, a stolid saint of the Soviet faith.
"Narration is a heartbreaker"
Lew Fonesca is a Sarasota part-time process server still mourning his dead wife and trying to get through life without any complications. But his life is full of them. His shrink wants him to dump his grief so he can have more of a life; a pretty social worker who has helped him in the past wants to "deepen" their friendship; and his big heart prevents him from saying no to people who need his help.
There's nothing funny about the package that comes for Chico Marx. It's a severed ear, a simple message from a Chicago bookie who wants $120,000 from the world-renown Marx brother. The strange thing is that, though Chico likes to gamble, he hasn't been making bets in Chicago. Terrified, he goes to the studio for help. Louis B. Mayer, king of Hollywood, places a call to Toby Peters.
The gorilla doesn’t like clowns. Normally that wouldn’t bother Toby Peters, since detective work tends to keep him far away from animal cages, but tonight he’s dressed as a clown and locked in with the ape. The animal’s handler told him not to worry - gorillas don’t eat people. They just like to tear their arms and legs off. What the ape doesn’t understand is that Peters is here for his protection. Earlier that week, someone electrocuted an elephant, and the gorilla, as one of the star attractions in this second-rate circus, is next on the hit list.
The Big Silence takes Lieberman and his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan - the Rabbi and the Priest, as they are known on the streets - on a journey that will test their consciences to the limit. When the young son of an informant in a governmental witness protection program is kidnapped and a grisly death occurs, they will have to make some hard choices to make things right. Told with compassion and with the keen insight into the human psyche, The Big Silence is gritty, compelling...and unforgettable.
"If Lieberman and Hanrahan arrested me..."
At an icebound naval weather station in far Siberia, the young daughter of an exiled dies under suspicious circumstances. The high-ranking Commissar sent to investigate the mystery suffers a similar fate: he is murdered by an icicle thrust into his skull. Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov is dispatched to solve the Commissar's murder, with one caveat: He is not to investigate the girl's death. Even if all the clues tell him that the two cases are linked.
In the topsy-turvy world of post-communist Russia, Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov's work is never done. Three congregants from a local synagogue, gunned down in the night, are the latest victims in the seemingly systematic execution of Jews in Moscow. But the shocking identity of one of the murdered men leads Rostnikov to suspect that, rather than simple intolerance, a more calculated motive lies behind the slaughter. Meanwhile, the city's women are under siege by The Shy One - a knife-wielding rapist who strikes without being seen....
Lew Fonesca is a man who does things for people. He makes small problems go away and tries to keep the larger ones from landing his clients in jail. He finds deadbeats, errant spouses, and generally keeps the populace of Sarasota on the up and up.
"Definitely worth the listen...."
Three years ago Lew Fonseca quit his job as a process server with the State Attorney's Office in Cook County, Illinois, and drove his rattling Toyota south to escape the memories of his beloved late wife. Headed for Key West, the Toyota broke down in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Sarasota, Florida. Buoyed by the friendship of a few trustworthy souls, Lew settled there, making ends meet by doing some investigative work for local attorneys.
"The melancholy server"
On December 10, 1938, Atlanta burned again. In the back lot at David O. Selznick’s studio, sets from a dozen old pictures were pushed together and set alight to provide a backdrop for the climax of what Selznick promised to be the movie of the century: Gone with the Wind. Toby Peters, then just a studio security guard, was on hand to help keep the dozens of Confederate extras in line. When the fire was over, he found one of them dead, impaled on his own sword.
The violent and inexplicable murder of an old man in his bathtub and the theft of a worthless candlestick send Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov on a hunt into the past. A ring of car thieves with a taste for expensive vehicles is at large in Moscow's streets. High above the gray city, a sniper is taking aim at police officers, and the obsessed detective Emil Karpo takes the assignment to heart.
"Skillfully spun, excellent depiction of an era"
The year 1942 is a bad time to stage Madame Butterfly. Although Puccini's masterpiece is a perennial favorite of the San Francisco opera crowd, its sympathetic depiction of a Japanese girl causes tension in the dark months following Pearl Harbor. Newspaper editorialists rage against the production, opera buffs picket the theater, and a note appears nailed to the house door, threatening violence against the cast and crew. When the first workman dies, the maestro calls Toby Peters, a Los Angeles detective who works discreetly for Hollywood's rich and famous.
Inside the Moscow Police Department, madness reigns. Inspectors Karpo and Zelach enter the underground world of post-punk rock clubs searching for clues to the disappearance of an anti-Semitic rock star who happens to be the son of one of Moscow's most powerful Jewish citizens.
It was one of those days when Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov should have stayed in bed. After braving a ferocious storm, Rostnikov arrives inside the Petrovka headquarters only to find three very peculiar investigations waiting for him. First there's cosmonaut Tsimion Vladovka, whose last words on the space station Mir were instructions to contact Rostnikov if something went wrong with the mission. Now, Vladovka is missing and his fellow cosmonauts are turning up dead.
"Very poor choice of narrator"