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Saturday, 7 February 2015

‘Herbie's Game’ by Timothy Hallinan



Published by Soho Crime
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. 

Junior, a kind of detective to the underworld, is retained by a mastermind criminal to find out who broke into his office and stole a piece of paper.  And to recover that list.

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.
------
Reviewer: Gloria Feit

Timothy Hallinan has  written ten published novels, all thrillers, all critically praised. In the 1990s he wrote six mysteries featuring the erudite private eye Simeon Grist, beginning with The Four Last Things which made several Ten Best lists, including that of The Drood Review. The other books in the series were widely and well reviewed, and several of them were optioned for motion pictures. The series is now regarded as a cult favourite. In 2007, the first of his Poke Rafferty Bangkok thrillers, A Nail Through the Heart, was published to unanimously enthusiastic reviews. "It  was a Booksense Pick of the Month and was named one of the top mysteries of the year by The Japan Times and several major online review sites. Hallinan has written full-time since 2006. Since 1982 he has divided his time between Los Angeles and Southeast Asia, the setting for his Poke Rafferty novels.
www.timothyhallinan.com


Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.


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