Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Fame Thief -- Timothy Hallinan

The Fame Thief is the third book in Timothy Hallinan's series about professional thief Junior Bender. Bender isn't just a thief, however.  He has a sideline.  Sometimes he solves problems for people who can't go to the law because they happen to be criminals, too. 

In this case, Irwin Dressler a Hollywood mobster from way back (he's 93) wants Bender to look into something that happened in the 1950's.  The career of an up-and-coming actress was destroyed, and Dressler wants to know why.  As you might expect, Bender learns quickly the past is never really past, and people start to get killed.  

It's a tangled case, and Bender, with the help of his computer-talented teenage daughter, even has to delve into the proceedings of the Kefauver hearings for clues.

Hallinan knows Hollywood and Los Angeles.  There's a fine feel for both the old days and the present in this book, along with some great characters and plenty of snappy patter.  There's violence and action and sentiment and good writing.  There's also a pretty big woo-woo factor.  Don't let that put you off.  It works just fine in the context of the old-time Hollywood story.

If you haven't read the previous Junior Bender books, that's okay.  You don't have to have read them to catch on to what's happening here.  But after you read this one, you'll probably want to go back for the other two.  It's just that good.

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