cover image Dead Extra

Dead Extra

Sean Carswell. Prospect Park, $16 trade paper (254p) ISBN 978-1-945551-47-5

In 1946, ex-cop Jack Chesley, the hero of this tough-as-nails hardboiled mystery from Carswell (The Metaphysical Ukulele), learns upon returning home to Los Angeles after years in a German POW camp that he was declared dead in 1943 and that his wife, Wilma, died in 1944. The official report says that Wilma died from an accidental fall in the bathtub, but her twin sister is positive she was murdered. Jake’s search for the truth takes him from the seedy worlds of stag films, prostitution, and blackmail to the not so glitzy soundstages of Hollywood. Old allies are rediscovered, new enemies arise, and all agree he should leave his wife’s death to history. But Jake doesn’t back down. Carswell weaves an intricate tale that keeps interest high as it shifts time frames and points of view. Readers will have no trouble relating to Jack, a regular Joe. Fans of the post-WWII pulp magazines and film noirs will find plenty to like. (May)