Monday, September 26, 2011

The Big Goodbye by Michael Lister

It's always a dame. So many hard-boiled detective novels start out with a woman entering the office of a private detective, and his life immediately goes downhill. That’s certainly true in Michael Lister’s latest mystery, The Big Goodbye.

Lister takes readers to Panama City, Florida, in 1943. Most people assume Jimmy Riley lost his arm during the war, and his nickname “Soldier” is a sign of respect and acknowledgement. But, twenty-seven-year-old Jimmy lost his arm and his career as a cop when he ended up on the wrong end of a shotgun soon after he became entangled with a married woman, Lauren Lewis. He was lucky that Ray Parker, a former Pinkerton agent and former cop was willing to take him in as a private investigator in his agency.

It’s an unusual twist of fate when Lauren shows up at the office, thinking someone is following her, and suspecting Jimmy. Jimmy decides to look into it, while his partner is working for Lauren’s husband, Harry. Harry is running for mayor of Panama City at a time when there’s a great deal of money and power to be gained there.

Is Lauren Lewis trouble, or is it Jimmy? It isn’t long before bodies start piling up, following Jimmy’s trail. And, it isn’t long before he sucks his partner into the problems. Jimmy can’t let go of Lauren, and her troubles can’t let go of him.

Lister’s The Big Goodbye is in the vein of Chandler and Hammett. Jimmy “Soldier” Riley doesn’t walk the mean streets of LA. He’s an ex-cop turned PI who knows Panama City, and takes the reader with him. It’s a page-turning story, gritty, with complicated twists and turns. It’s hard for the reader to let go of the story, just as it’s hard for Jimmy to let go of Lauren. In hardboiled detective stories, it’s always the dame.

Michael Lister's website is

The Big Goodbye by Michael Lister. Pulpwood Press. ©2011. ISBN 9781888146790 (paperback), 245p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Lauren sounds like trouble to me! Particularly since she's from Jimmy's past. Haven't read hard-boiled for a while...sounds like one for me to pick up.

Lesa said...

Oh, there's not doubt from the very beginning that Lauren is trouble, Elizabeth. I hope you get a chance to read it.