The Big Goodbye
By Michael Lister
Panama City, FL. 1943. When a former lover comes a’callin, private eye Jimmy Riley is thrown for a loop. Lauren Lewis, married to a mayoral candidate says someone is following her and wonders if it’s Riley. Soon, he’s in over his head with blackmail and murder…and Lauren has disappeared.
It’s a plot right from the pages of noir and pulp fiction. Your typical (yet not) P.I. mystery with all the right elements.
Jimmy ‘Soldier’ Riley: 27, private investigator, missing right arm, former cop, smokes, lives at a hotel
Lauren Lewis: Riley’s former lover, dark brown hair, dark eyes, has several burn scars, parents dead
Harry Lewis: 60s, Lauren’s husband, banker, running for mayor, wispy gray hair, blue eyes
July: Riley’s part time secretary, short hair, round and full face, long and thin neck
Raymond Parker: 60, Riley’s partner, former Pinkerton agent, former cop, drives a Packard, square frame
Ruth Ann Johnson: Salvation Army nurse, missing a leg, small frame, blonde, blue eyes
Cliff Walton: Lewis’ security, big man, smokes
Ann Everett: Lewis’ psychologist, short blonde hair, green eyes, wears glasses
Nice cast with some expected types. The floozy, the politician, the beef, the gangster, the cops. Didn’t find one I didn’t like.
Some very good voices. Conversations didn’t waver. They never do in this type of book. I could picture each character, a lot of time through their voices.
First person from Riley’s POV. Some unnecessary profanity. Really, this story would have been just fine without the f-bombs. Continuity problem: In one chapter Ray is said to be 60 but in the next he’s said to be almost double of Riley’s age of 27. Author constantly misspelled lightning.
I’ve always enjoyed these stories even though there are similarities with them all. Maybe the expected stuff is what I enjoy. This one is a nice juicy mystery with a lot of angles and bad guys to spare. Action is quick and decisive with no fooling around.