cover image King Maybe: A Junior Bender Mystery

King Maybe: A Junior Bender Mystery

Timothy Hallinan. Soho Crime, $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-61695-432-1

In Edgar-finalist Hallinan’s darkly comic fifth Junior Bender mystery (after 2014’s Herbie’s Game), the endearing Los Angeles burglar is faced with his biggest existential crisis yet. His enigmatic girlfriend, Ronnie Bigelow, has left him; a malicious girl is picking on his estranged teenage daughter; and everyone he knows seemingly wants him dead. Meanwhile, a down-and-out movie producer manipulates Bender into breaking into a mansion owned by Jeremy Granger (aka King Maybe), who many view as the “most powerful person in Hollywood.” When Bender is caught red-handed, King Maybe offers him a way out of his predicament—but the quick-witted thief realizes too late that he has been carefully set-up to take the fall for a much more nefarious crime. Powered by Hallinan’s smart and sardonic narrative voice (a young actress is described as an “emaciated, Giacometti sculpture of tendons, tension, and teeth”), this brisk romp through the Hollywood Hills reads like a novel half its length: an undeniable page-turner. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (Apr.)