by David Baldacci
1953 LA. Private investigator and World War II veteran Aloysius Archer intends to ring in the New Year with an old friend, aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb interrupts to hire Archer.
After events escalate—mysterious calls, the same car outside her house, and a bloody knife in her sink—Eleanor fears for her life. First, a dead body turns up inside of Eleanor’s home . . . and Eleanor herself disappears.
To find both the murderer and Eleanor, Archer enlists Callahan and his partner Willie Dash. The investigation takes him from mob-ridden Las Vegas to glamorous Hollywood to the darkest corners of Los Angeles—a city where beautiful faces belong to cutthroat schemers, cops can be more corrupt than criminals . . . and powerful people who took his client will kill Archer on their trail.
Written in the genre of Mickey Spillane with his old-time detective, Mike Hammer. The story is developed as if it were written in the 1950s and 1960s.
If you like crime novels of that period, you will like Baldacci’s book. It feels like you are reading back then in time, authentic, real, spot on. The style is what I would call “staccato delivery.” Names come at you like clicks on an old typewriter, click-click, clack clack. And you must keep track of this log of characters as the events unfold. It might be classified as interactive reading. You read, need to pause to assimilate, then repeat and continue. You are a very active participant in the reading process, engaged and playing an active role. I dislike that. I don’t want to read that way. I like reading to be a more passive engagement, like watching TV. Sit back and let the material wash over you. Baldacci won’t allow you to be like that in this book. He wants you to think, digest and assimilate and then he proceeds to unravel more of the story with more characters, more events and more plot development.
This is not my style of book. Baldacci is an author who I like a lot because he is so polished and refined in his storytelling. With this book, he remains as admirable as he usually is, but the style of writing is not to my liking.
Not a book that I enjoyed. I would be very hard-pressed to describe the plot of the book. Worse, I would be hard-pressed to name the primary protagonist. I could list names but keeping track of who was who and what role they played in what plot line….a real struggle for me.