cover image The Man with the Iron-On Badge

The Man with the Iron-On Badge

Lee Goldberg, . . Five Star, $25.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-1-59414-372-4

Approaching the level of Lawrence Block is no mean feat, but Goldberg (the Diagnosis Murder series) succeeds with this engaging PI novel, the first of a new series. Harvey Mapes, an overeducated security guard for a Southern California gated community, is pulled out of his rut when a wealthy resident hires him to tail his wife. Genre readers won't be surprised that this simple assignment turns more complicated, but those who like their mean streets settings to be coupled with a twisty solution will enjoy the surprise ending. While Mapes's rampant sexual appetite may not be for everyone's taste, readers who devoured Block's brilliant Chip Harrison mystery picaresques (which doubled as affectionate pastiches of Nero Wolfe) will find Mapes a worthy (if slightly more mature) successor to Harrison and clamor for more. Agent, Gina Maccoby. (Oct.)