Dec. 7, 2016

The Clichés Never End…

The Monet Murders by Terry Mort

 

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

Hollywood, 1934. The Nation has shrugged off the uncomfortable bonds that were Prohibition. Bruno Feldspar is a hard boiled Private Eye with a storied past. For example, his name isn’t Bruno Feldspar. Riley Fitzhugh assumes identities as he needs them, discarding the old ones as he goes. To interact with art professor Dennis “Bunny” Finch-Hayden, Fitzhugh becomes the more upper crust sounding Thomas Parke D’Invilliers.

Riley is working for two clients. Manny Stairs, real name Shlomo Rabinowitz, (hey, this is Hollywood, remember!) wants Riley to find a girl who is a exact physical match to his dead girlfriend. Riley has been hired ($25 dollars a day plus expenses) to trace a lost Monet which was stolen and replaced with a fake.

I actually enjoyed the book for a while, but the clichés just do not seem to stop. Since it is Hollywood 1934 there has to be the requisite “casting couch” references. It wouldn’t be hardboiled without a shady side to the detective, so we learn he’s been involved in at least two under the table deals.

One was undercover with the FBI, but had all gone to Riley’s plan he would have stolen the proceeds. This may be the one original point in the whole book! Mort misses the opportunity to build on this momentum…

There are the gambling ships anchored off the three mile limit, cigarette girls, Jewish gangsters, Italian gangsters, a touch of the Chicago mob and so on. Then there is the game of bed swapping that involves the PI and several women. It’s been done before, yeah?

I’m having a bit of trouble finding an original idea. The murders would be fine if about half of the cliché stuff were trimmed away. No, it isn’t a unique case, but the presentation could have been salvaged. It is sad that in the end, I lost interest in this book.

I give the book two stars…

Quoth the Raven…

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