cover image Fields Where They Lay

Fields Where They Lay

Timothy Hallinan. Soho Crime, $25.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61695-746-9

Edgar-finalist Hallinan deserves to win an Edgar for his ingeniously plotted, often hilarious sixth Junior Bender novel (after King Maybe). Junior, a thief who has “probably stolen more things than most people own,” owes a favor to a San Fernando Valley, Calif., crime boss, and agrees to work for a scary Russian thug who has adopted the name Tip Poindexter. The Edgerton Mall, which Tip owns, has recently experienced a dramatic spike in shoplifting, and Tip demands that Junior find out why. The assignment is depressing for Junior, since it comes just days before Christmas, which has always been an emotionally trying holiday for him. The investigation pays off with a brilliant solution that few will anticipate, and the sophisticated story line is only one of the book’s highlights. Another is the masterly way in which Hallinan creates his own world-weary Chandlerian narrative voice (a golf club Junior visits is “one of the Valley’s shiny new gathering places for people whose money was recently acquired and whose manners hadn’t yet been sanded down into the smooth indifference that marks multiple generations of wealth”). Readers will eagerly await Junior’s next adventure. [em]Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (Oct.) [/em]