Carl Brookins
Author Website
The Case of the Deceiving Don
Five Star ($25.95), August 2008
Gary Shulze, Once Upon a Crime
Writing for CrimeSpree Magazine

Vertically challenged P.I. Sean, um, Sean is back on the case, red Keds and all, following his entertaining debut in "TCOT Greedy Lawyers"(Five Star, 2005; Nodin Press, 2008). Brookins, an author, lecturer, critic, and long-time champion of the P.I. genre, delivers such a classic, yet modern day detective story that I'm moved to coin, if I haven't been beaten to it, a new "sub-genre" label: "retro-noir".

Sean, um, Sean (this is kind of a running gag throughout the book; people get stuck when addressing Sean, not knowing whether to use his first or last name. Um, duh.) is returning home from a surveillance only to find the street where he lives littered with police, and the remnants of a wheel chair and a body. It appears that one of the residents of the nursing home across the street was out for a ride when his booby-trapped wheel chair exploded. Curious, Sean Sean investigates.

Turns out that the body once belonged to a minor-league mafia Don from Mechanicsburg, PA who moved to the "Sheltering Winds" retirement home several years ago. More curious still, Don Molinaro had a constant companion in Martin Levy, a young body builder, personal trainer, and valet who lived at the home with him, rarely leaving his side, except, of course, for when the retired Don took his rigged wheelchair out for a ride.

So was this a mob hit? Who is this Martin Levy character, anyway? Why does the "Sheltering Winds" director seem shady and unforthcoming? Who are the two goons who came to his office, trying to buy him off the case? And, most important, why is someone taking shots at him through his window? The answers to these and other puzzlers are all neatly tied up in this highly readable and smoothly written adventure.

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This page last updated June 13, 2008