The winner of the St. Martin’s/PWA best private eye debut for 2000 is a deft reworking of every p.i. cliché, from the honorable/usually broke/flummoxed-by-babes shamus to his lippy secretary to a caseload that involves his ex-wife, his ex-girlfriend, his late mentor, several powerful business investors and even more gangsters, plus a worthy cop adversary. San Francisco shamus Jake Diamond, alternately sipping bourbon and Mylanta, wants to know why his old buddy Jimmy Pigeon, co-owner of Ex-Con.com winds up dead, with his partner Harry Harding soon to follow. The truth lies (sic) somewhere between what Evelyn Harding hints at, Grace Shipley knows, the Carlucci mob has been threatening Al Pazzo (who’d been putting the arm on Harding) about, and the offer a Richman Associates underling made to buy out Ex-Con.com, then reneged on. Vegas, L.A., and the Grand Caymans will all come in to play before Diamond, with atypical cunning, engineers a class-A double-cross, leaving several personal allies a good deal wealthier and the Witness Protection Program one witness short.
Fast-paced, convoluted, and comfortably familiar—all of which ought to please pulp diehards and fans who can never get enough roughage.