Mystery/Thriller Book Reviews

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All the Lucky Ones are Dead by Gar Anthony Haywood

Putnam, January, 2000.
Hardcover, 232 pages.
ISBN: 0399145400.
Ordering information:

All the Lucky Ones are Dead
by Gar Anthony Haywood Los Angeles p.i. Aaron Gunner is not at all thrilled with his latest two cases, but his bank account is running on empty, so he can't afford to be choosy. Gangsta-rap superstar D.E. "Digga" Jones' death was listed as a suicide, but his father insists that Digga was murdered. Aaron is hired to enter the cutthroat world of L.A. gangsta-rap to find out which of Digga's many enemies may have murdered the youthful superstar. Meanwhile, Aaron also has his hands full playing bodyguard to the obnoxious Sparkle Johnson, the right-wing African-American talk show host who has been receiving death threats. The more Aaron digs into his two cases, the more complicated things get -- neither case is quite what it seems.

Gar Anthony Haywood has created a fascinating character with Aaron Gunner. A complex man, Aaron is equally at home on the mean streets of L. A. or in Chicago with his beautiful lady love, Yolanda McCreary. Haywood has his finger on the pulse of the urban scene and his stories are filled with colorful characters and vivid backgrounds. Fans of the skillfully rendered p.i. novel are sure to love this one.

--Claire E. White

Bloody London by Reggie Nadelson

St. Martin's Minotaur, Jan., 2000
Hardcover, 320 pages.
ISBN: 0312243723.
Ordering information:

Bloody London
by Reggie Nadelson Artie Cohen is a private investigator who is a former officer of the NYPD. Russian by birth, Artie has a unique perspective on the denizens of his adopted home, New York City. Artie picks up a lot of work from his former NYPD mentor, Sonny Lippert. When Tommy Pasco, the British owner of New York's priciest co-op, is found murdered in the swimming pool of the Sutton Place residence, Artie is called in to assist. His investigation will lead him into the new Russian society of real estate moguls, Natashas (Russian beauties who come to New York looking for rich husbands), and various philanthropists whose charitable deeds may be covering up a world of crimes. Meanwhile, Artie is having romantic troubles with his longtime girlfriend, Lily. When Lily and Artie both end up in London, it looks as if Lily may be up to her neck in Artie's case. And if that isn't enough, London is facing the worst natural disaster it has experienced in centuries.

Bloody London is a fast-paced thriller that explores the underbelly of the Russian society that invaded New York and London after the fall of communism. Nadelson takes aim at greedy real estate speculators, the Russian mob, high society charitable organizations and snooty NYC co-ops -- no one and nothing is spared from her penetrating gaze. Artie's Russian background and sensibilities give him an intersting perspective; he's a likeable hero who is tough on the outside, but turns to mush whenever he's faced with his manipulative, secretive girlfriend, Lily, or with the beautiful and mysterious Frankie Pascoe. The local color is well-done, as are the somewhat creepy prep school kids who hang around Sutton Place after dark. Bloody London is a satisfying fix for thriller and p.i. junkies who will definitely cry out for more of Artie's story.

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