RARA-AVIS: John Shannon

From: Larson, Craig ( Craig.Larson@tsjc.cccoes.edu)
Date: 17 Apr 2000

The most recent book I've completed is John Shannon's first Jack Liffey mystery _The Concrete River_, which was a very good, tense, modern update of the hardboiled novels of someone like Raymond Chandler. Liffey lost his job as a technical writer and has since subsisted as a sort of "semi" detective, finding lost children and so forth, although he does not, as yet, have a license. In the book, he's hired to find a missing Hispanic woman who's something of a neighborhood political activist--she's the mother of a boy he'd previously been successful in tracking down. Liffey is very big-hearted and willing to get involved in situations which he's not familiar with the workings of--in one scene, he sees a group of teenage boys pushing and shoving each other in a junkyard area and is just about to stick his nose in to see what's up when they pull out guns and start shooting at each other. He's not willing to just put his head down and ignore what's happening around him.

Another thing I liked and I guess this is spoiler-worthy


is that, once he finds out that his search will ultimately lead him to a mob-connected land deal, he's perfectly willing to drop the whole matter. Once he gets his revenge on the two lowly mob hitmen responsible for the death of the woman he's searching for, he lets the rest of the mystery go, which I thought was a bit unusual. Someone like a David Robicheaux wouldn't have been able to do that.


Liffey has a neat relationship with an ex-nun and the two of them are dumped into a storm drain in a neat sequence that almost kills the both of them. All in all, it was a memorable first novel and had me looking for books 2 and 3 in the series.

Craig Larson Trinidad, CO

# To unsubscribe, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to majordomo@icomm.ca.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 17 Apr 2000 EDT