Friday, January 24, 2014

Murder on the Yellow Brick Road - Stuart Kaminsky

Mention I enjoyed one book by an author, watch my dad produce six more books by the same guy, starring one of his other recurring characters, from the aether, and drop them in my lap. They're fast reads, though, if this is anything to go by.

Murder on the Yellow Brick Road is out of Kaminsky's Toby Peters series, about a private investigator in Los Angeles in the early 1940s, at as of this book. Near as I can tell, each book is going to involve Peters getting caught up in some thing with movie stars, or the film industry. Which could get old in a hurry. It seems a little convenient that Peters, would run into Raymond Chandler while pursuing his investigation. The investigation being one of the Munchkins from Wizard of Oz turning up dead, in costume, on the long since abandoned set (Oz having been released over a year earlier).

Kaminsky's a good writer, the story's fluid, moves along at a good clip, has some nice dialogue. Peters is prone to those clever, wry one-liners I'm fond of. This story isn't the first in the series, but he makes sure to give the reader a good sense of who some of the regulars are in Peter' world. His ex-wrestler landlord, the dentist he shares office space with, his asshole cop brother. And he's good at working in references to past cases organically, as a way to flesh things out.

I still don't think he's much concerned with the actual mystery. I had one of the culprits pegged from the first page they appeared, just going off story conventions. One thing I'm keeping an eye out for in the other books is if Kaminsky has a thing for femme fatales, or if it's just a coincidence the first two of his books I've read turned out as they did. The details are very different, but that could be chalked up to a difference between '40s Hollywood, and '80s USSR.

It's a light read, nothing heavy or difficult, and it works fine in that capacity.

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