In my continuing entertainment affair with Tim Hallinan, I find myself face to face with yet a third character. Poke Rafferty’s in Bangkok, Simeon Grist’s in L.A., as is the new guy, Junior Bender. Difference is that while Rafferty and Grist may play it close to the edge, Bender is an avowed professional burglar and proud of it. His schtick is that he brings other bad guys to justice, often with the cooperation of buddies on the force. He’s never been arrested, never been made because he varies his M.O. and works only a few times per year. Junior’s consumer appeal is enhanced by his loving relationship with his 14-year-old daughter (who sometimes helps with the tech aspects of investigations) and an understanding if alienated ex-wife.
Thus, the first two in the series–Crashed and Little Elvises—give us a child star junkie being promoted as a porno star and an underworld recording industry mogul accused of a murder he may or not have committed.
You’d think Hallinan wouldn’t be able to invent three such disparate characters without a lot of copycatting, but he can and does. Both novels are thrillers with plenty of thrills and the well-written eloquence of an accomplished pop lit writer.