Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mystery Book Review: South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of South Beach Shakedown: The Diary of Gideon Pike by Don Bruns. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns
A Mick Sever Mystery
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-02-3 (1933515023)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-02-1 (9781933515021)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Someone is about to make a killing in the music industry. Why would songwriting legend Gideon Pike mysteriously disappear just when he is about to turn a 30-year career into a multi-million dollar profit?

Music columnist Mick Sever is back in Don Brun’s third suspense masterpiece. This time he’s looking for answers and his missing friend in the gritty backrooms of South Beach’s biggest nightclubs, dodging suicide speedboats and running from sniper fire. What surfaces is how the major players in the music industry are not making the headlines, they’re just pulling the strings that create them. Hit it right, and the royalties – even someone else’s – can rake in millions for the rest of your life. The key is finding Gideon before Korean mobster Jimmy Shinn does. Jimmy is ready to cash in on the one secret that will bring Gideon to his knees and strip away what’s left of his career, his fortune, and his life. Whoever gets to Gideon first will ether save him or pull the trigger.

The deadly race is on.

Review: South Beach Shakedown: The Diary of Gideon Pike is the third entry in the mystery series featuring music and entertainment reporter Mick Sever, this time set in sunny and sultry Miami.

At the request of his ex-wife, Ginny, Sever travels to Miami to search for Gideon Pike, a legend of rock and roll and an old friend of Sever's, who has suddenly disappeared after agreeing to allow Ginny to publish his diaries. Though controlling a music catalog worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Gideon is living a fairly austere lifestyle leaving Sever to wonder if this change of fortune has anything to do with a Korean businessman who seems to be intimately involved in Gideon's corporate and personal activities. When some of Gideon's associates are subsequently murdered, Sever looks into Gideon's past and discovers long buried secrets that someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.

The primary problem with South Beach Shakedown is that, with one notable exception, Bruns doesn't develop his characters in any meaningful way, and especially falls flat with the series character, Mick Sever. No matter how interesting a plot may be, if a book is populated with 1-dimensional characters, it simply isn't compelling. The exception here is the richly drawn Jimmy Shinn, Sever's nemesis in the story, though even his presence isn't enough to recommend this book.

Bruns favors a choppy style of writing, using short sentences and paragraphs, clipped dialog, and chapters rarely longer than a few pages. For a mystery set in the world of rock and roll, South Beach Shakedown never develops a rhythm of its own.

Special thanks to Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity for providing an ARC of South Beach Shakedown: The Diary of Gideon Pike for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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