Saturday, January 3, 2015

Finished: "Where the Dead Lay" by David Levien

Finished: Where the Dead Lay by David Levien, 2009, 9780385523677.

I was bemoaning the lack of books by this dude and found out a new Frank Behr novel comes out in 2015. Good, I've really enjoyed this one and the other two.

Frank Behr is an angry man with a dead son, an ex-wife, a girlfriend he cannot commit to and an obsessive exercise schedule. Behr is heading for his early morning Brazilian jiu-jitsu class and arrives to find the police and paramedics gathered around his instrucor's bloody body.  Instructor has been de-topped by a shotgun. Behr is angry. Behr immediately starts to work the case by talking his way into the Instructor's office and taking the dead man's address book.

Meanwhile a family of crooks is running a scheme to take over all the illegal lottery games that are popular around Indy. The three sons, 18-, 20-, and 22-years-old, and father are working with the dad's ex-con pal to shut down all the houses and gain a monopoly. They are violent and deadly.

Behr used to work for the Indianapolis Police Department. His relationship with the department is very rocky but the local branch of a national private investigation company wants to hire him to find two of their missing investigators. Behr says no, he does not need the trouble and is running down Instructor's killer. He changes his mind when a couple Indy PD muckety-mucks ask him to take the private case.

Meanwhile, Behr and his girlfriend are rocky. Behr carries intense guilt from his son's death. Behr's child accidentally shot himself with Behr's handgun. Behr feels like he would betray has past family by getting more serious with Girlfriend and when Girlfriend gets pregnant it causes a crisis.

Things happen. Behr runs with a weighted vest and drags a tractor tire. Behr acts without thinking clearly. Behr realizes Instructor was his only new friend in about 15 years. He chases some dead leads on both cases. Behr and Girlfriend's relationship takes a cooler. Behr evaluates his life and career. Behr finds out both cases are connected.

The bad guys are bad. The bad guys are nasty. The bad guys get their come uppance. Behr comes out on top, reconciles himself with his past and with his Girlfriend. Behr's victory is a bit hollow.

1. I was just searching for a Levien website to find the pub date and the suggested searches include "David Levien net worth". That's weird.
2. Speaking of searches Levien works with a guy called Brian Koppelman. Koppelman's podcast had a listing in the Entertainment Weekly issue I just read. I doubt I'll listen, I have a lot of audiobooks to get through.
3. I still don't know the name of the guy who was hanging out with Levien at Bouchercon in St. Louis. I was going to hunt down that guy's novel.
4. Gratuitous Charter Bulldog love. Behr realizes he is chasing some real bad dudes and starts packing heat again. At one point Behr goes by and buys a bunch of .44 Special boxes for practice.  .44 Special is pricey ammo.

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