Little Elvises by Timothy Hallinan
Series: #2 in the Junior Bender series
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: 2013
Source: e-galley provided by publisher through NetGalley
The Short Version:
Junior Bender a sort of private investigator for bad guys gets blackmailed into proving a once powerful music producer didn’t commit muder.
Why I Read It:
After both The Hubster and I thoroughly enjoyed the first Junior Bender book I was eager to continue with the series..
Junior Bender is a burglar who has not altogether willingly become a sort of private investigator folks who are themselves on the wrong side of the law. This time around he gets blackmailed into proving the innocence of a music producer. Vinnie DiGuadio made a name for himself in the 50’s pop music scene in Philadelphia. He was known for backing a series of “Little Elvises” who were young, good looking boys with questionable singing talent that happened to look and act enough like the real Elvis to get the teenagers spend their money on records.
DiGuado now lives in LA and is under suspicion for the death of a tabloid journalist. Junior doesn’t want to help but he’s ‘persuaded’ to take the case. He happens to be familiar with the ‘Little Elvises’ because his daughter wrote a paper on them for school.
At the same time Junior wants to help his landlady. Her daughter hasn’t been seen for days and Marge is sure it’s got something to do with the guy she ran off with because after all he wore a pinkie ring.
As with the first book in this series, I purchased a copy of the book before I was even finished with the egalley. This is just a fun series with a lot of comic elements and quirky characters. Junior is likable even though he’s a burglar. He’s proud of the fact that he’s a good burglar and has never been caught.
The mysteries are interesting. At times because of multiple stories it gets rather complicated and perhaps overly so but it’s such fun I didn’t care. I just enjoyed the ride.
I was glad to see Louie the Lost (getaway driver extraordinaire) back again. He’s fun. Junior’s habit of living in motels and changing his home base every month or so will be sure to provide a routine change of scenery as this series continues. The motel he’s in for this book is called The North Pole and is all (glued down) Christmas Kitsch and I sort of envisioned it as a Christmas Craft Bazaar turned motel.
I like Junior. He’s a burglar but he’s got standards. He’s also unapologetic about the way he makes his living. Deep down he’s a good guy for a career criminal. It’s hard for me not to root for Junior. He has a real sense of responsibility for his daughter and despite his problems with his ex-wife he doesn’t want to jeopardize his visitation. I was glad to see his daughter Rina have more of a role in this book. She’s a smart kid with a lot of spunk. At thirteen with her first real boyfriend she’s giving her dad a lot to think about. Unfortunately he’s pretty busy trying to stay out of jail and stay alive.
If you like your mysteries with a bit of comic relief and a cast of oddball characters I’d encourage you to pick up both Crashed and this one. The third book in this series will be out in July and they’re great for summertime reading.