Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Heard: "Little Elvises" by Timothy Hallinen

Heard: Little Elvises by Timothy Hallinen, 2013, download. Narrated by Peter Berkrot.

Junior Bender, volume 2. Since Junior is a burglar and crime solver I keep thinking his name is Bernie. This makes perfect sense because Hallinen writes Lawrence Block Type novels that are Lawrence Block quality. By Lawrence Block Style I mean: humor, some grit, witty banter and love talk, oddball bad guys that are still scary, and good doses of realism sprinkled throughout.

This time Junior has been called in to the local cop shop under suspicion of burglary. A nasty burglary that involved a death. The Detective on the case gives Junior the option to skate on the frame-up if Junior will help the Detective's aging uncle, a retired record producer. What can Junior do? Of course, this doesn't stop him from negotiating payment and terms.

Aging Uncle is suspect in the death of a journalist. Aging Uncle has an alibi but is hiding the alibi. Aging Uncle made his fortune by selecting Elvis lookalikes from Philadelphia. Giving them suits and songs, then selling singles. Junior's computer savvy daughter even wrote a report on the topic.

Junior meets the journalist's widow and falls in lust. Junior has his crook friends help him out. Junior is tabbed by Scary Old Gangster to do some work. You don't say "No" to Scary Old Gangster. Junior pines for his wife. Junior misses his daughter. Junior enjoys his shiftless and dangerous life; he has fun as a crook. Anyhoo.

Things happen. We follow Junior around as he narrates his investigation, his concern for his teenage daughter, jealousy over Ex-Wife's new boyfriend, threats from a nutbag hitman, side plot on a missing woman, etc.

This is the kind of novel where I start reading (listening) and get sucked right into the story. Hallinen tells a great story with a vivid setting and characters. The characters act believably and the dialogue is very fun.


Mathew Paust said...

If Hallinan is even half as good as this review, I'm sold (Scary Old Gangsters, my favorite monster type)

Whereabouts in Southern Wisconsin? I hail from Mid-Wisconsin (Columbus)--well, I did hail from there, a Virginian now.

Gerard Saylor said...

I am in Lake Mills. 22 miles from Columbus on Highway 89.