Speak of the Devil, Richard Hawke's first Fritz Malone novel, will be released tomorrow. I wish it was already time for the second in the series. Fritz is another one of those smart-mouthed, street smart detectives such as Spenser and Archie Goodwin, loveable, good-hearted, and with their own code of honor.
On his way home from the bagel shop, Fritz stops to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade for just a moment, long enough to notice a gunman aiming at one of the floats. As bystanders are mowed down, Fritz gives chase and shoots the sniper. Or does he? Not according to the NYPD, who have their own story for the media. As the son of the former Police Commissioner, Fritz gets dragged into the secrets that the police and the Mayor are trying to protect. Blackmail, threatening letters and crooked cops are problems that the authorities would not like to see exposed in the media. But no self-respecting PI would allow the authorities to keep him from investigating on his own.
Speak of the Devil is about connections. Fritz's girlfriend is the daughter of the detective that introduced him to the business. His father and the present police commissioner were coworkers. Even a local bartender was married to Fritz's mother. As the novel develops, the circles of connections grow smaller and smaller. It's a powerful device that finally narrows the list of suspects.
Speak of the Devil is a fascinating story that involves the reader from page one. I'll be waiting for the next Fritz Malone story, just as I wait for the next Spenser.
Sidenotes: Richard Hawke's website is www.RHawke.com. Hawke has also written the Hitchcock Sewell mysteries, beginning with The Hearse You Came In On, under the name Tim Cockey. That website is www.timcockey.com.
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