Monday, July 19, 2010
"Lots of people are dead, they're just not smart enough to fall over and decompose." Mary Burns
Frank Behr arrives at his friend, Aurelio's martial arts studio and finds that he's been murdered. Since Aurelio is so good in martial arts, Frank observes that it must have taken three men to do this.
Many people would walk away from a situation like this but Frank wants to find his friend's killer. As he begins searching, he's asked to look into the disappearance of two private investigators from one of the prestige agencies. At first, he declines but is old boss, Lt. Pomeroy, gets him to reconsider with the possibility of getting back on the job if he succeeds.
Frank is told that there are "pea-shake" houses where gambling takes place in low rent, condemned buildings in Indianapolis. Someone has been attempting to take over this action and are killing or beating the people who would be their competitors.
As the tension mounts and hearts begin to beat faster, we follow Terry Schlegal and his three sons, together with a former con named Knute, as they plan to take over all of the pea-shake houses; according to Financial Gary, this would be worth tens of millions of dollars.
The novel moves with breakneck speed with plenty of action and violence throughout. The author knows how to write a thriller and captures the reader's attention, not letting go until the final page.
I enjoyed the story and the protagonist, Frank Behr, a mixture of strength, bravery and integrity, with just the right amount of tenderness. The Schlegel family were well described villains, unique in their madness and combined immorality.