Crashed by Timothy Hallinan

As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Timothy Hallinan‘s Poke Rafferty series.  So I was intrigued when I heard about Crashed a new e-book series. I was interested to see Hallinan work with a different lead character (Junior Bender) and different setting (Los Angeles).

Here is the official blurb:

Crashed, the first book in the new series from the author of the Simeon Grist Mysteries and the Poke Rafferty Bangkok Thrillers, introduces Junior Bender, a top-of-the-line burglar who also works as a private eye – for crooks. When a crook gets ripped off by a crook, Junior is the guy who gets hired. In his first outing, Crashed, Junior finds himself on the wrong side of his own already paper-thin moral code, being forced to prevent sabotage against a multi-million dollar porn film starring exactly the kind of person he’d normally want to protect.

At the age of 23, Thistle Downing is broke, strung-out, semi-suicidal, and on the verge of obscurity. But between the ages of eight and fifteen, she was the biggest television star in the world, a brilliant natural comedian until her talent slowly began to desert her. Now desperate, she’s facing the ultimate humiliation . . . and she’s so wasted she doesn’t even know that someone’s been trying to kill her. And in between her and all that, there’s no one – except Junior.

Crashed turned out to be a fun fast paced mystery with the typical Hallinan humor and style. A lead character who while outside the law and normal cultural mores has his own strong sense of right and wrong – and a fierce determination to go his own way.

The first chapter is hillarious and really pulls you into the story. From that point on there are regular twists and turns. Just when you think you have a handle on things something changes. By the end you are reading frantically trying to see how Junior pulls it all off.

The other thing that makes it fun is all the side characters and their interaction with Junior and the plot. Just as Hallinan takes you on a tour of Bangkok and Thailand with his Poke Rafferty series, he uses Junior to paint a picture of a certain side of LA and Hollywood.

You get to know Junior and the background to his chosen career path which sets up the series moving forward. But you also get an interesting portrait of a child TV start caught up fame and success; and like so many in real life she wasn’t able to handle it.

And of course there are numerous side characters and bit players with quirky personalities and unique voices.  All this adds to the quirky tone and feel to this hard to label romp. It is sort of Hollywood noir with a twist.

Not having read the earlier Simeon Grist Mysteries I am not sure how this new series compares. But fans of Poke will enjoy Junionr and vice a versa I would think.

I look forward to seeing how this new series plays out.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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