cover image Nighttown: A Junior Bender Mystery

Nighttown: A Junior Bender Mystery

Timothy Hallinan. Soho Crime, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-61695-748-3

Edgar finalist Hallinan’s suspenseful, well-crafted seventh Junior Bender mystery (after 2016’s Fields Where They Lay) finds the L.A. burglar/investigator, who has worked on the wrong side of the law for more than 20 years, desperate for money to help his girlfriend, Ronnie Bigelow. Ronnie’s two-year-old son, Eric, has been taken from her by the boy’s father, “a New Jersey mob doctor,” and Junior needs major funds to pull off his plan to reunite Eric with his mother. In desperation, he agrees to break into a house last occupied by the late Daisy Horton, a nonagenarian known as the “Cruella de Vil of fading Los Angeles gentility,” to retrieve a doll for an unidentified client. Junior comes up empty, as does the rival seeking the same item he encounters in the creepy Horton house. Junior’s lack of success, combined with the murder of the other burglar shortly after she leaves the premises, leads Junior to seek the truth behind his commission and its connection with what he did find—rare first editions, including an autographed copy of Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Hallinan’s top-notch prose and plotting are reminiscent of Lawrence Block and Elmore Leonard. Agent: Bob Mecoy, Bob Mecoy Literary. (Nov.)