Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review: 'Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair' by Larry Darter

Texas author Larry Darter was born in Oklahoma, served in the US Navy then earned his BS degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, an entered law enforcement – first as a police officer in Oklahoma City then as a Teas Peace Officer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where he worked as a field training officer, crime scene investigator, police instructor, and patrol supervisor. He now devotes his time to writing crime thriller novels that are positively influenced by his personal experiences.

The Malone Mystery Series is focused on the eccentric Ben Malone introduced in Book 1 COME WHAT MAY and now continues to alter personalities in FAIR IS FOUL AND FOUL IS FAIR from his status as a LAPD detective to his new role as a private eye running his own private investigation agency in Los Angeles.

Just as Larry opens his story with the first few lines, it is best to follow his synopsis for these further challenging adventures of Ben Malone. ‘Amid his adjustment from LAPD detective to running his own private investigations agency, a strikingly beautiful blonde carrying a bundle of cash pays a visit to Malone's office with a somewhat unusual problem. The seductive blonde confides to Malone that she has witnessed a murder, but for delicate, personal reasons cannot go to the police to report what she saw. Empathetic with her situation, Malone agrees to take on the unique case even though it is not the kind of assignment a private detective sees every day. He must find and bring to the attention of the L.A.P.D., the identities of the suspected murderers so that justice can take its course without involving his client. All in all, in the beginning, the case seems innocuous enough to Malone, an easy money assignment. That is until things start to unravel. There are three more murders connected to the first one before Malone's investigation even gets untracked. From there, like an out of control roller coaster, things go downhill fast and from bad to worse. Malone learns that the string of murders is mob-connected. The man believed behind them is a heavy hitter, the vicious mob boss of the Los Angeles' Ukrainian mafia and a man who will stop at nothing to eliminate Malone's client. In the initial confrontation with the Ukrainian gangster, Malone is stunned to learn that his love interest, feisty psychiatrist Sara Bernstein is caught in the crosshairs, having been abducted by associates of the mob boss while attending a conference in San Francisco. She is held hostage by the mobster's minions and used as leverage to force Malone to betray the whereabouts of his client. He also discovers that things may not be as they first appeared with his drop-dead gorgeous client. She may be a femme fatale up to her pretty little ears in a little criminal behavior of her own. Malone races against time, first to rescue Bernstein, and then to sort the innocent from the guilty in time to solve what rapidly evolves into a complicated web of deceit and criminal wrongdoing where it begins to look like fair is foul, and foul is fair.’

Strong, informed writing here with a zesty influx of erotica to offer relief from the tensions. Written as only someone with experience in law enforcement could write, this story not only entertain, but it also shares the functions of just how the detective angle fits in with details rarely encountered in crime thrillers. This is a fine book and still offers room for further installments in this satisfying series. Grady Harp, April 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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