THE CHAINSAW BALLET by Thomas J. Keevers


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Sex, slavery and chainsaws in a Chicago more depraved than Al Capone’s.

A year after Uri Simunic, a partner in Club Belgrade, was smothered with a plastic bag, someone has shotgunned his partner Milan Krunic and severed his hand with a chainsaw. Minnesota Mutual, which has paid out hefty key-man policies on both partners, has no intention of writing out a check on surviving partner Stepan Vasil. So they hire private eye Mike Duncavan (What the Hyena Knows, 2005, etc.) to figure out who killed the first two Serbs. Mike’s a logical choice because his résumé (twice-divorced Golden Gloves boxer, homicide detective, disbarred lawyer) gives him a certain well-rounded charm, and because his two self-confessed vices—“A) lust; and (B) an ability to count to two before taking a swing”—promise exciting times. What they don’t promise is originality. Mike talks just like Mike Hammer, combining an avid appetite for righteous violence with a becoming reticence about the women he’s bedding. True to form, his best conversations end in threats or fisticuffs. And the hints of Serbian-American white slavery he picks up in a series of scruffy gentleman’s clubs manage to be both nauseating and routine.

What stands out is the emphasis on sacrificial redemption dramatized by the figures of two ex-priests and Mike’s dogged sense that “this was real life, not some cheap detective story.”

Pub Date: Sept. 19th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59414-580-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Five Star
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2007


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