cover image Buried Caesars

Buried Caesars

Stuart M. Kaminsky, read by Stephen Bowlby. HighBridge Audio, unabridged, digital download, nine hrs., $18.87 ISBN 978-1-62231-112-5

This 13th entry in Kaminsky’s breezy, entertaining series featuring 1940s private eye Toby Peters finds the engaging Southern California sleuth in the company of real-life celebrities and fictional screwballs and lawbreakers. With WWII raging in the South Pacific, Gen. Douglas MacArthur makes a clandestine visit to Southern California and hires Peters to recover stolen documents that could severely derail his planned postwar presidential run. Peters encounters Dashiell Hammett in Hollywood, where the author is avoiding his paramour Lillian Hellman while waiting to join the army, and Hammett lends the detective a helping hand. Voice-over actor Bowlby is a smart choice for these swift-paced tales; he endows Peters with a wry, mildly world-weary voice that comes across as tough without sounding rough. He saves the full hardboiled effect for Peters’s eternally angry homicide detective brother, Phil. Peters’s office-mate, Sheldon Minck, the world’s most unsanitary dentist (he chomps cigars as he works) sounds as slurry, whiny, and needy as he is on the page. As for Bowlby’s interpretations of MacArthur and Hammett, their personalities—stern and humorless for the general, slightly bemused and relaxed for the writer—fit hand in glove with what we know from the history books. An Open Road/ e-book. (July)