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Bookends: The Case of the investigating Bartender January 17, 2017

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends, mystery, Whitehorse Star.
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Bookends: The Case of the investigating Bartender

By Dan Davidson

June 9, 2016

– 692 words –


Dead Irish

By John Lescroat

Narrated by David Colacci

Brilliance Audio

10 hours and 14 minutes



I selected this book for travel listening because I hadn’t read any of the Dismas Hardy books in a while. What I didn’t realize from the novel listings at Audible.com, was that this was the first of the series, one I had never read or listened to.

Thus, the central characters of Dismas Hardy and Abe Glitsky were not quite the way I remembered them from previous books I had heard. There wasn’t the same level of trust that would be obvious in the later books, when the relationship was more firmly established.

At this point, Dismas (named for the Good Thief on the Cross) is at a low ebb in his personal and professional life. His marriage failed some time ago. He had a career as a police officer and a later one as a lawyer. Both have ended and he is currently a bartender in a bar called The Little Shamrock.

His boss, and good friend, Moses McGuire, asks him to look into the death of his son-in-law, Eddie Cochran. It’s a hard sell, as Dismas has no faith in himself to carry out such an assignment. Aside from his other personal failures, he has a drinking problem and is really just barely coping.

Moses offers him a quarter share in the bar to take on the case. He is convinced that the police investigation, which labeled Eddie’s death a suicide, was sloppy, and that Eddie was murdered. Dimas agrees to try.

Dismas turns to his friend and former police partner, Abe Glitsky, to get him some background on the case. In order to obtain this, Abe has, basically, to interfere with the work of his chief rival for a promotion at his workplace, and he is skeptical at first, but eventually is persuaded to take the chance.

It turns out – of course! – that the case has been handled very badly and that there is a great deal more going on than anyone official had the slightest clue about.

Because there is so much going on, and so many different points of view, this is almost a story where you wish you had the book in hand so you could flip back and check some details when new information emerges. David Colacci does a great job presenting the book, with its various vocal challenges, but it was sometimes hard to juggle all the plot lines effectively while listening.

Subplots include the internal politics of Abe’s police work and the reigniting of romance and lust in Dismas’ relationship with his ex-wife, and the very intriguing relationship between a priest and the Cochran family.

Abe would really like that promotion, and it looks like helping Dismas may not be the best way to go about getting it.

Dismas’ marriage broke apart after the death of their son, something neither he nor hi wife were able to cope with. A further strain came from their career choices. He had been a criminal defense lawyer and she was a prosecutor. As they move closer together after years apart, this tension is still evident.

The Cochran family is a mess. At one point Dismas has to go to Mexico to rescue the younger brother, and one could almost get lost in the tangle of relationships there. What seems like a plot digression eventually turns out to be very important, but the investigation travels down several winding and bloody paths before reaching its end.

There are several possible solutions to the Cochran murder, and quite a few secrets are uncovered along the way to the final one, which turns out to be rather sad in the end. Not that some of the other casual murders, to borrow an phrase from the Bard, are not also sad and rather pointless.

The book wasn’t pointless though. It was gripping and quite well done. Since its beginning in 1989, there have been 15 other books in this series, as well as several featuring characters from this series.






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