A Charlie Henry Mystery #2
David and Aimee Thurlo
Minotaur Books, April 2015
ISBN: 978-1- 250-02900-3
Charlie Henry and his sidekick, Gordon, are ex-Special Forces soldiers, now partners in the FOB Pawnshop in Albuquerque, NM, but civilian life hardly is a retiring one for either of them. Trouble seems to find them on a regular basis in this second of a series of action-packed adventure. Mysteries and mischief seem to just walk into their store. In this latest story, it begins when a young woman pawns a valuable Navajo necklace.
Soon three gunmen enter the pawnshop in an attempt to retrieve the bracelet. And a shootout results in one of them dead and another wounded, with Charlie and Gordon none the less for wear, but off and running to find out what prompted the invasion. This leads to a wild goose chase all around the New Mexico city with violence galore until they learn what lies behind they mystery of the bracelet and the death of its creator.
While the plot follows a traditional pattern of a police procedural, and there are plenty of cops involved, with enormous assistance from Charlie and Gordon, the novel really centers on the swashbuckling duo and their antics, rather than detecting clues to solve a crime or murder. And there is plenty of this type of action to satisfy the most bloodthirsty reader.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, February 2016.
A Michael Cassidy Novel #1
David C. Taylor
Forge Books, March 2015
Michael Cassidy is a detective in New York City’s midtown precinct during the 1950’s in the era of McCarthyism. He is a dramatic character drawn in the classic mold of a tough hombre. His godfather is the mafia stalwart Frank Costello, his father an immigrant who started with less than nothing and rose to become a well-known Broadway producer. Cassidy picks up a murder case, the victim actually a dancer in the show his father is producing and now in rehearsal.
One murder leads to three others, and Michael becomes involved in a web of conspiracies involving the FBI and the CIA, and with Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover, no less. Cassidy is taken off the murder case by higher-ups, but true to fashion, he persists. Faced with complications of monumental proportions his doggedness continues.
This novel, a debut, is excellent. The background of New York City just after World War II is superb, and the atmosphere of the Red Scare years and McCarthyism is very real, especially for those who lived through the period. The book has much to recommend it, and indeed is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Ted Feit, December 2015.