17 July 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-61695 (UK)
21 February 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-6169-5540-3 (USA)
In an Afterword to his newest book, the author discloses that he was asked by the publisher to write a 30,000-word Junior Bender novella, which started out being a tale of a burglary which netted our protagonist some
interesting pieces of jewellery. Instead he ended up writing a novel three times as long in which those brooches merely serve as sort of end pieces to an entirely different theme.
The identity of the culprit is obvious to Junior, since he left his "calling card" by leaving everything open. So, Junior heads for his mentor's home only to find Herbie Mott (who not only taught Junior everything he knows about his "profession," but was a surrogate father as well) beaten and dead. It's obvious his attackers were after that same piece of paper, which was a list of intermediaries who served to eventually pass along instructions to a hit man. Thus begins a long trek, as Junior follows the chain in an attempt to discover who was the intended target of the hit.
In reviewing the prior novel in the series, I pointed out that Junior was less amusing than he had been in the first two installments. Unfortunately, I felt that he was even less so in this, the fourth. While "*Herbie's
Game"* is a serious attempt to look at Junior more meaningfully, and we do gain a deeper insight into his personality and character, it is not the Junior we have come to love. Nevertheless, as it stands, it is a novel
that keeps one's interest, and it is recommended.