cover image The Big Bitch: A Jackson “Doc” Holiday Mystery

The Big Bitch: A Jackson “Doc” Holiday Mystery

John Patrick Lang. Coffeetown (, $15.95 trade paper (324p) ISBN 978-1-60381-303-7

At the start of Lang’s clever, surprise-filled first novel and series opener, PI Jackson Holiday, formerly the president of a mortgage bank “that went tits up,” spots the car of Fr. Jesus Cortez, a drinking buddy of his, parked in the driveway of the detective’s rented bungalow in the unfashionable Berkeley, Calif., flatlands. Inside the car Cortez is dead, shot twice in the temple. Capt. Horace Hobbs of the Berkeley PD, a legend in police circles for always closing a case, asks Holiday some tough questions. What was a suitcase containing about $200,000 in cash doing in the priest’s car? Hobbs quips, “Think this is the parish’s Tuesday night bingo receipts?” In a wide-ranging search for answers that takes Holiday to Portland, Ore., and later to San Diego, he learns much about Cortez’s complex history, which, according to one character, sounds just like one of Raymond Chandler’s “implausible, impossibly twisted plots.” Satisfied readers will agree. (Aug.)