Raymond Benson’s name should be familiar to most mystery readers as he is the author of sixteen novels, including six James Bond 007 novels, three James Bond filmnovelizations and three short stories. Mystery Writers of American for Best Biographical/Critical Work nominated his book, The James Bond Bedside Companion, which was published in 1984, for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.
Benson’s latest crime story, A Hard Day’s Death: A Spike Berenger Hit offers up a riveting, multilayered behind-the-scenes tale of the darker corners of the world of rock music.
The story unfolds when rock star Flame, who is also known as Peter Flame as well as Peter Donald Duncan, is found by his tour manager, Kenny Franklin, “hanging like a rag doll from a rope that had been tied to a light fixture in the ceiling” of his town house residence.
Initially, it appears as if Flame committed suicide, however, however, after further investigation the police conclude that Flame was murdered and that the prime suspect was is son Adrian Duncan who they arrest and take into custody.
Adrian’s mother, Gina Tipton who is the divorced wife of Flame and his first wife, hires private investigator Spike Berenger along with his team known as Rockin’Security to find out who really murdered Flame, as she is certain her son had nothing to do with the murder. Berenger can hardly wait to begin his investigation, as this case might be the biggest rock’n’roll crime since John Lennon’s untimely death.
After considerable prying, Berenger learns that Flame was a member of a religious cult, the Messengers that is under the leadership of a shady character, Reverend Theo. Apparently, Rev. Theo had spent a couple of years in prison in Jamaica before he moved to the USA.He also discovers that a former drug junkie, Brenda Twist whom Flame had met at a rehabilitation center, seduced him into joining the group and subsequently donating thousands of dollars to the cult.
Berenger also seems to have ruffled a few feathers when two attempts on his life are made leaving him to believe that a rough gang trafficking in drugs known as the Jimmys are not too happy that he is poking his nose into Flame’s murder. It seems that the murder suspect, Adrian is involved with the Jimmys.
Flame’s second wife, Carol Merryman, who is the vice-president of Flame Productions, may be embezzling from Flame and it is possible that she stands a great deal to gain if Flame was knocked off.Another possible suspect is David Bristol who showed a great deal of animosity toward his former musical partner. Then there is the elusive Al Patton, Flame’s manager, as well as Ron Black, Flame’s bodyguard, who becomes the chauffeur for Rev. Theo after Flame’s death. However, the more Berenger probes the more it seems that he can’t tie in any of his possible suspects with the murder and that Adrian could indeed be Flame’s killer.
What stands out about this mystery novel is the manner in which Benson effectively masters the technique of masking the killer’s identity until the climax permitting the villain to play a dual role throughout the story. Another is not giving his readers too much too soon and leaving us guessing until the final chapters. Moreover, the narrative with its great momentum is never dull, as it keeps moving forward with very little stopping, side-stepping, or reversing.
The above review was contributed by: The Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com,Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L,Retired Title Attorney: Norm is also a travel writer and together with his artist wife, Lily, the couple meld Norm's words with Lily's art. To check out their travel site click on Sketchandtravel.comClick here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.
What I Know Now Simple Lessons Learned the Hard Way
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Working the Hard Side of the Street by Kirk Alex
The following review was contributed by
This is a group of short stories and poems about life
in present-day Hollywood, as seen from the bottom
Alex is a native of Sarajevo who found himself in Los
Angeles by way of Brussels and Chicago (plus an army
stint in Vietnam). He had writing in his blood, and
figured L.A. was the place to go. While amassing
rejection slips, he worked a variety of jobs including
furniture moving, painting apartments, TV repos...
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A Conversation With Diane Diekman Author of Live Fast Love Hard: The Faron Young Story
Click Here To Purchase Live Fast Love Hard The Faron Young Story Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest Diane Diekman author of Live Fast Love Hard: The Faron Young Story. Diane is also the author A Farm in the Hidewood: My South Dakota Home and Navy Greenshirt: A Leader Made, Not Born. Diane Jean Diekman grew up on a South Dakota farm. Diane is also a retired U.S. Navy captain and for five years she wrote a newspaper column of...
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Author: Amy C. BakerISBN: 0781442621The following review was contributed by: Sue Vogan: To read more of Sue's reviews Click HereAmy C. Baker captures what it's like to care for and lose a parent. In part one, Ms. Baker brings the "Pandora's mythological package" to the table. She claims that commonly there are "shattered hearts and broken relationships" in families. These bumps and bruises seem to be placed in, what she lovingly calls, our "soul's attic" when we...