I enjoyed this light read because of its humor and its convoluted plot. Yes, it strains credibility, but this is not great literature, just recreatio..Show More »nal reading that is much enhanced by the quality of the narration. I enjoy mysteries in which the hero is himself a criminal. This reminded me of the classic series by Richard Stark featuring Parker, although Junior is not nearly so ruthless. After all, he has a daughter he loves and and an ex-wife he hopes to win back. He's a little bit disarming in his forthrightness. I can imagine his going to a parent-teacher conference and, responding to his daughter's query about what he does for a living, that he is a professional thief. I look forward to the next in the series.
I blindly bought this book knowing nothing about the author or the character and was delighted with my choice. The narration is excellent and I prefer..Show More » it to the other narrator of Hallinan's books, though both are good, Berkrot gets the feel of the books just perfect.
The story is fun, face paced and filled with likable, outrageous characters. It is gritty but almost in a fun way like a James Bond film or good comic book. I'd say this is perfect summer or road trip reading. The story keeps you engaged and the plot just complex enough without being difficult to follow when heard aloud. (I often find books I'd otherwise have no difficulty with are harder to follow on a road trip.)
the plot follows two mysteries, the one about the "Little Elvises" and a side plot about a serial killer and a missing daughter of a friend. The "Little Elvises" mystery ends up being a little absurd but the serial killer side plot finishes off the book in an entirely satisfying manner.
So many authors write page turners that torture their main character, dragging you across emotional gravel until you come out bruised and exhausted at the end only to find a character you love has died and the book ends with the hero in limbo until the next absurdly long and tortuous book. I of course read the heck out of these as well but it is immensely satisfying to find a book that is compelling, without being tortuous, fun and that has a satisfying ending.
Just as much fun and just as little depth as a classic Bond film.
I have loved all of the Poke Rafferty books, which show us the extraordinary vista of Tim Hallinan's talent. On the other hand, I have read a couple o..Show More »f the Junior Bender books, and I have to ask, "Why?" Junior can't even be compared to Poke as a protagonist in any way. A burglar? That we are supposed to get interested in and enjoy following his exploits? His fellow low-life burglars, and his teacher, Herbie, the grandfather of burglars, who teaches crooks how to break into people's houses? What on earth could have made Tim seriously think that this would be an enjoyable read? I know there is humor, and the fact that he is getting recognized for the humor is all good. But it's just not for me.
No. Even though I really enjoy Tim Hallinan's writing, the Poke Rafferty books are more enjoyable, and IMHO they are much more consistent with the wri..Show More »ter's Rule #1: write about what you know. Tim's humor is intact: the jokes come fast and furious. However, Junior Bender is a much less enjoyable protagonist than Poke, and the stories of his burglaries are exactly what you might think: not so much fun. Junior tries to rationalize what he is doing (stealing from the rich and wicked...) but we never identify with these ruminations. I understand Tim's need to avoid getting trapped into writing the same books over and over, but this series is never going to match the first one.
Tim Hallinan has written not one, not two, but three fantastic series. Junior Bender, the third of his heroes, takes on the role of deadpan, sarcastic..Show More » thief cum PI to the crime world. The result; comedic gold with a social conscience. Peter Berkrot nails the narration. Highly recommended!