Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hardboiled Collective: Little Elvises (Junior Bender) by Timothy Hallinan
After reading Skin Deep I immediately asked Timothy to join the Hardboiled Collective, the group of hardboiled writers.
Timothy has a new book coming out which is a must-read for all PI fans...
Junior Bender is a San Fernando valley burglar, an unhappily divorced man who still cares for his former wife and adores his 12-year-old daughter, Rina. Junior's a very, very good burglar. Despite plying his trade for most of his late-teen and adult life, he's never been arrested. He also runs a profitable, if dangerous, sideline: he works as a private eye for crooks. When someone does something crooked to a crook, the police are often not an option. The option is Junior.
This moonlighting has not made him popular with some members of the LA underworld, and with the cops also interested in him, Junior lives in a series of motels, in a region that's especially rich in awful motels. The motel of the month is part of each book, in one way or another. (In LITTLE ELVISES, it's Marge 'n Ed's North Pole.)
In LITTLE ELVISES, Junior is forced by a corrupt cop to go to the rescue of an old record producer, a guy who, in the sixties, grabbed handsome boys off of Philadelphia stoops and turned them into little Elvises for six months or a year, until the fans got tired of them. A supermarket-tabloid journalist has been murdered on Hollywood Boulevard and the cops think the music producer did it because -- well, because he was planning to do it. He was even scouting for a hit man, which someone told the cops, but somebody else got to the journalist first. So the story takes Junior into the arena of old-time rock-and-roll, missing persons, the world's oldest still-dangerous gangster, a murderer of young women, and a terrifying if somewhat hapless hit man named Fronts.