The Big Goodbye

The Big Goodbye

Book - 2011
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Someone is following Lauren Lewis. She ducks into the office of PI, Jimmy "Soldier" Riley, not to hire him, but to find out if he's the one following her. Back when they were lovers he told her if he ever decided to, she'd never know he was there. It's 1940's Panama City, Florida. The world is at war, and the growing panhandle paradise is doing its part. Tyndall Field is training pilots. Wainwright Shipyard is building battleships. The Naval Section Base is protecting vessels in the Gulf. The Dixie Sherman Hotel is hosting celebrities such as Clark Gable. Harry Lewis, a wealthy banker, is running for mayor, unaware his wife is running for her life. With a secret to hide and a husband running for mayor in a city exploding and expanding like no other time in history, Lauren doesn't want trouble, but she's about to get a double-barrel full of it. Only one man can help her, and though it might destroy him, he doesn't mind. Better to die than be the walking wounded.
Publisher: Panama City, Fla. : Pottersville Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9781888146783
Characteristics: 245 p. ; 22 cm.


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Oct 23, 2013

An intriguing noir mystery, with an unusual setting in wartime Florida. The atmosphere is clammy with fear and corruption, and lead character Jimmy Riley is obsessed with his lost love. Hollywood studios would have optioned this in a heartbeat in 1948.
Michael Lister could have had a great book if he had just followed the noir conventions and let his P.I. follow the trail to its sordid end. But he has bigger fish to fry, and by the end he is in Graham Greene territory as questions of good and evil, faith and doubt begin to arise. It's still a great book, but of an altogether higher order. I hope this is the start of a series, but he's set the bar stratospherically high for a follow-up.


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