Junior Bender is back to untangle one of the weirdest mysteries in Tinseltown.
LA burglar Junior Bender has, unfortunately, developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that, regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him - either his suspect or his employer.
Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music-industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he'd threatened to kill a couple times. It doesn't help that the dead journalist's widow is one pretty lady, and she's trying to get Junior to mix business with pleasure. Just as the investigation is spiraling out of control, Junior's hard-drinking landlady begs him to solve the disappearance of her daughter, who has gotten involved with a very questionable character. And, worst news of all, both Junior’s ex-wife and his 13-year-old daughter, Rina, seem to have new boyfriends. What a mess.
I blindly bought this book knowing nothing about the author or the character and was delighted with my choice. The narration is excellent and I prefer it to the other narrator of Hallinan's books, though both are good, Berkrot gets the feel of the books just perfect.
The story is fun, face paced and filled with likable, outrageous characters. It is gritty but almost in a fun way like a James Bond film or good comic book. I'd say this is perfect summer or road trip reading. The story keeps you engaged and the plot just complex enough without being difficult to follow when heard aloud. (I often find books I'd otherwise have no difficulty with are harder to follow on a road trip.)
the plot follows two mysteries, the one about the "Little Elvises" and a side plot about a serial killer and a missing daughter of a friend. The "Little Elvises" mystery ends up being a little absurd but the serial killer side plot finishes off the book in an entirely satisfying manner.
So many authors write page turners that torture their main character, dragging you across emotional gravel until you come out bruised and exhausted at the end only to find a character you love has died and the book ends with the hero in limbo until the next absurdly long and tortuous book. I of course read the heck out of these as well but it is immensely satisfying to find a book that is compelling, without being tortuous, fun and that has a satisfying ending.
Just as much fun and just as little depth as a classic Bond film.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Little Elvises?
I didn't think could love a series more than Timothy Hallinan's Poke Rafferty books, but I have two new loves- Junior Bender and narrator Peter Berkrot. The humor, the snapping dialog, the fresh and zany characters- they're all here. Junior reminds me of Tim Dorsey's Serge Storms, smart and funny, but without the psychotic tendencies.
What did you like best about this story?
It had characters from Junior's first story, Crashed, and built from there so that you start to really care about them. The storyline was good, and you can't beat Timothy Hallinan's humor.
What about Peter Berkrot’s performance did you like?
Everything- I'm a connoisseur of narrators, and he's a great one. I love narrators who act out the story, not just read it.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes- and I can't wait to tear into the others!
Any additional comments?
If you like well-written (and well narrated!) dialog that makes you laugh out loud please give it a try!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Yes, a lot of people I talk to about Timothy Hallinan haven’t heard of him. And yes, I’ve given out a few of his series sets to friends who are now grateful.
He writes great characters, with fantastic dialogue and has serious Story chops. All of this is true.
But I’ll always listen to Hallinan stories with Audible, because as solid as his writing is- and it is - the humor (and that’s what has to be said: Tim Hallinan writes funny very, well...whip-smart, snappy, out of nowhere, laugh out loud funny)...anyway, the humor comes through so well in audio format that I literally bark out with laughter in inappropriate spaces and places. And as with Hallinan’s other two series, the choice of narrator is dead-on perfect. Peter Berkrot IS Junior Bender. And Kathy. And Rena. Everyone. And he nails the humor as well as anyone in the biz.
If you’re on the fence about Timothy Hallinan and a credit, get down off that fence and just buy Book one in any of his series...you’ll wind up buying them all. Trust me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The second book in the series, wasn't sure about starting a book titled 'Little Elvises' but it grew on me.
I like the character Junior Bender and I like the writing style of the author.
Not being from LA I haven't really thought much about the entertainment industry and the underbelly that must exist. The author brings some of that to life. Written in kind of a hip LA style, the story flows well and it's entertaining.
I'll look forward to book #3.