Herbie’s Game by Timothy Hallinan
Series: #4 in the Junior Bender series
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: 2014
Source: copy provided by the publisher
The Short Version:
Junior Bender, professional burglar and occasional private investigator for those on the wrong side of the law investigates the death of his mentor and substitute father.
Why I Read It:
I have enjoyed the series so far and this one about Junior’s mentor was sure to fill in some background on one of my favorite fictional investigators.
From the author’s website:
Junior Bender returns for a fourth outing. Seeking the murderer of his mentor and substitute father, burglar extraordinaire Herbie Mott, Junior finds out along the way that Herbie might not have been the man Junior thought he was, and that choosing to play Herbie’s game might have cost Junior far, far too much.
So you see, kid,” Herbie said, ‘we’re like Robin Hood. We steal from the rich and we give to the poor.”
“How do we give to the poor?” I asked.
“I said we were like Robin Hood, not a slavish imitation of Robin Hood.”
“So we’re sort of like Robin Hood,” I said.
“Yeah,” Herbie said. “If you squint.”
I have enjoyed every book in the Junior Bender series. A professional burglar who occasionally operates as an investigator for those on the wrong side of the law Junior is smart and witty even though he’s not always exactly keen on his job.
The idea of investigating crimes on behalf of crooks hadn’t been mine, and much of the time it took a gun to my head, metaphorically and occasionally literally, to get me to go to work. Even though I kind of enjoyed figuring things out and it was mildly flattering ot be asked, there was the drawback of my possible death every time I went to work.
This time around Junior is hired to investigate a theft but the investigation leads to his mentor Herbie who is most definitely dead. Junior is shaken by Herbie’s death and the investigation into both the initial theft and the identity of Herbie’s killer becomes more and more complicated and surprising. Junior learns things about his mentor that he’d rather not know and learns some things about himself along the way.
I really enjoy Junior and the cast of recurring characters, in particular Junior’s teenage daughter. Junior’s girlfriend Ronnie intrigues me. She’s got some secrets herself.
It’s a fun series with plenty of action and humor along the way. I recommend it. They do work as stand alones but there are some continuing stories that make a bit more sense if you read the series in order.