cover image The Big Bout

The Big Bout

Michael Lister. Pulpwood (, $26.99 (232p) ISBN 978-1-888146-5

A bit too much is going on in Lister’s loosely plotted fourth crime novel featuring Panama City, Fla., PI Jimmy Riley (after 2014’s The Big Hello). In late 1943, Miki Matsumoto, a “beautiful Japanese teen” who has been in hiding since escaping from an internment camp, is working as Riley’s secretary in gratitude for his rescuing her from a local beach where she was repeatedly raped. Miki’s sinister uncle threatens to kill the gumshoe and his girlfriend, Lauren Lewis, unless they disclose Miki’s location. Meanwhile, a boxing manager hires Riley to protect Fighting Freddy Freeman, whose life has been threatened on the eve of a bout that could land him a chance to take on heavyweight champ Joe Louis. When Freddy’s opponent, Gentleman Jeff Bennett, disappears, another client hires Riley to find Bennett. The nonwhite characters rise above stereotype, though Lister sometimes overdoes the dialect (“He ah very wealthy. Make ah good ah husband for dishonored girl. She ah be treated rike ah royarty”). [em]Agent: Amy Moore-Benson, AMB Literary Management. (Sept.) [/em]