Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Night at the Operation by Jeffrey Cohen

If you love old comedy movies, wisecracks, or humorous mysteries, check out Jeffrey Cohen's Double Feature mysteries. His latest book, A Night at the Operation, is his best yet.

Elliot Freed owns the only movie theater in New Jersey that only shows comedies. It doesn't attract large crowds, or make a lot of money, but it keeps Elliot happy. Nothing can make him happy, though, when his ex-wife, Dr. Sharon Simon-Freed, goes missing. It's even worse that Sharon's soon-to-be-ex-husband, Dr. Gregory Sandoval, is the one who reports it to Elliot. Normally, Elliot won't worry about anything Gregory says, but Elliot still loves Sharon. And, when he returns home that night to find his house ransacked, he starts to worry that someone might have kidnapped Sharon.

Elliot has a lot of resources. He might seem a little odd, owning a movie theater, not owning a car, and riding a bike to work, but he's made friends over the years. And, he calls on the local police chief, and another police officer who helped him write the book that allowed him to buy the theater. They're a little dubious, until the family of one of Sharon's patients claims he committed suicide, and blames her.

As the search for Sharon turns into something out of a Marx Brothers' comedy, Elliot starts to lose it. Did Sharon's patient commit suicide, or was he murdered? Was Sharon kidnapped? Did she run off with a man, leaving a trail at a hotel and sleazy shops?

And, as Elliot runs around playing detective, his theater is either flooding or going up in flames. His most reliable staff member is under pressure to leave. Elliot Freed's whole life is a mess. And, it's a fun mess for the reader. One scene in Elliot's office is worth the entire cost of the book. By the time you finish A Night at the Operation, you might be just as tired as Elliot. But, it's a glorious tired, due to chuckles and laughter. And, his characters, beginning with Elliot, are just wonderful. Cohen truly has written a tribute to all of those old zany comedies. If you need a pick-me-up, pick up A Night at the Operation.

Jeffrey Cohen's website is

A Night at the Operation by Jeffrey Cohen. Berkley Prime Crime, ©2009. ISBN 9780425228159 (paperback), 304p.


JeffCohen said...

Wow. It doesn't often happen, but I'm speechless. Thanks, Lesa.

Yvonne said...

I have this series in my TBR and just picked this book up. It looks wonderful!

Lesa said...

No problem, Jeff! I was waiting for this book. I bought it the week it came out, and I was not one bit disappointed. Elliot and his friends were terrific, again. And, I loved that scene in his office. I just wish I could have said more about it, but it's too funny to say anything more.

Lesa said...


It is so much fun. I needed something lighter than what I was reading and this was perfect.

iasa said...

I was not familiar with this series, but it sounded right up my alley. I picked up It Happened One Knife from the library this morning. I am really enjoying it so far, as much as you can enjoy a book 15 pages into it.

Lesa said...

Oh, it gets better, Iasa. If you can enjoy a book 15 pages in, you'll enjoy the rest of it. It's fun!

iasa said...

Yes, I really did enjoy it, was going to rush out to the library first thing and get another book in the series, but then I remembered they are closed until Tuesday. Sigh!

I have found so many books I've enjoyed from your site Lesa, thanks.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Iasa! Sorry you can't get to the library until Tuesday, but Jeff would be really happy that you liked his book that much.

I'm really happy you've found good books from my blog!