‘The Fame Thief’ is one of those books that tries to stuff so much into the metaphorical suitcase, that the top doesn’t fasten completely. We have a private detective with a heart of gold in Junior Bender, who is faced with a choice of either taking on a seemingly unsolvable case, that happened more than seventy years ago, or displeasing feared crime lynch pin Irwin Dressler, so as is the case with the pot-boiler detective genre, he takes the case.
The book is full or careering action scenes, and the type of hardboiled lines that could have dripped straight from the pens of Chandler and Hammett, and yet this book is merely more than a highly intelligent pastiche. Timothy Hallinan has imbued his characters with a pathos, and a humanity that means that we feel for them, and the predicaments in which they find themselves. However, although the book is very well plotted, has fine wrought characters and situations, a couple of lesser plot points are somewhat distracting, but that may just have been me. There is much to like and for a book group to discuss in this book, and it is well worth further investigation if a well plotted novel is what you are looking for.