Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Reading 2016 King Maybe (Junior Bender #5)

King Maybe (A Junior Bender Mystery)

A literate thief? One who quotes books accurately and understands their themes? It sounds too good to be true, and you know what they say about things that seem to good to be true. Perhaps Junior should have kept that in mind when he decided to take an "easy" job to please his fence. If he had, then he wouldn't have nearly been beaten to death by thugs with baseball bats, or threatened with a professional hit being taken out on him, or the string of other mishaps that plague him throughout the book. But since he doesn't listen to that little voice of reason, he finds himself being sucked deeper and deeper into a trap with no way out. There are more double-crosses and setups than a Sunday night mystery movie (yes, I'm dating myself with that reference), and they up the ante each time. And the pressure comes from every side; his girlfriend Ronnie, his ex-wife, his daughter and her social life, his fence, a burglary target, a former client, and a Hollywood executive (among others). Can an intelligent crook figure his way out, or will he be caught like an unwilling mouse?

Junior is not as dashing or into elaborate disguises as Val Kilmer in "The Saint." He doesn't use songs to time his movements like Bruce Willis in "Hudson Hawk." But he is glib, fairly good looking, and even has a bit of a conscience. He feels loyalty to his friends, is protective of his daughter and girlfriend, and is honest enough to admit when he owes someone. All of which makes him likable enough for us to wish for his success and cringe every time something else goes wrong.

For those who haven't read Junior's earlier adventures, this could be a good introduction to the series and to Junior's character. The supporting cast of Ronnie, Louie, Stinky, the Slugger, Anime, Milli, Rina, Kathy, Tyrone, et al. fill out the action with wildly different personalities and quirks. While it's not a screenplay, the story is very easy to visualize (back that Sunday night mystery movie), and carries the reader along from one crisis to the next. Recommended for mystery readers (existing Junior Bender fans or not), especially if they like stories with a cinematic feel to them.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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