Monday, March 09, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Shooters & Chasers by Lenny Kleinfeld

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Shooters & Chasers by Lenny Kleinfeld. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Shooters & Chasers by Lenny Kleinfeld


Five Star (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59414-739-6 (1594147396)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59414-739-5 (9781594147396)
Publication Date: January 2009
List Price: $25.95

Review: Lenny Kleinfeld's debut suspense novel, Shooters & Chasers, is largely a police procedural that is interspersed with elements of a comic caper, legal thriller, and yes, a little romance. Regardless of how it's defined, though, it's a pleasure to read.

Chicago cops Mark Bergman and John "Doonie" Dunegan nab a suspect in the senseless murder of a local architect. But Emilio "Meelo" Garcia insists he didn't do it. He spins a far-fetched tale of events that led to his being in the motel where he was arrested. No one believes him, and the prosecutors not only have an open-and-shut high profile case, it's a political springboard for greater things to come. But Mark and Doonie go through the motions of checking Meelo's story out and one or two details turn out to be true. That leads them to continue the investigation until they're convinced the suspect's original wildly improbable story actually may be the truth. But who'd want to kill the architect, whose design is up for consideration as the new Los Angeles Fine Arts Museum? The answers lie in southern California where the two cops find competition among the rich and famous for recognition to be deadly.

For the most part, the plot in Shooters & Chasers evolves from the perspective of the two cops, Mark and Doonie. But virtually every major character, and there are more than a few, has a point of view in the story that's replete with intersecting subplots. It is a measure of how crisply written this book is that the reader can keep them all straight. And at over 400 pages, the book is fairly long, yet doesn't feel that way. Many scenes are written from different points of view, something that's typically hard to pull off without seeming repetitive but is done exceptionally well here. The murder scheme is comically convoluted; the assassins that pull it off know it is as well, but are counting on the cops and the prosecutors to believe no one would go to such extremes when a simple bullet to the head in a dark alley would have sufficed. The narrative occasionally makes tangential detours that don't really add any value to the story, and the ending, which has screenplay written all over it (so to speak), isn't nearly as polished as it could have been. Overall though, Shooters & Chasers is a cleverly developed mystery with compelling characters that is thoroughly entertaining.

Special thanks to for providing an ARC of Shooters & Chasers for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): A revered architect is dead on the pavement, gunned down by an inept mugger. Homicide detectives Mark Bergman and John "Doonie" Dunegan bust the mugger, who claims he wasn't the murderer, or even the mugger -- despite being in possession of the murder weapon and the victim's wallet. The prosecutor's a closet thespian. The defense attorney is neurotically insecure and the lone defense witness is a chronic liar. The prosecution's case is unraveled by the detectives who built it. The State's attorney is up for re-election and doesn't want to hear about it. The real killers, a pair of world-class assassins hell-bent on making a world-class syrah, were hired by a Los Angeles billionaire philanthropist. But which one? While narrowing the list, Mark and Doonie end up in Southern California, neck-deep in a three-sided war with the assassins and a squad of private security goons.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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