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Knowledge Base .: Archives Fiction and Non-Fiction Reviews .: Mystery .: Reviewer: N. Goldman .: A Hard Day’s Death: A Spike Berenger Hit

A Hard Day’s Death: A Spike Berenger Hit

Click Here To Purchase A Hard Day’s Death: A Spike Berenger Hit 

Author: Raymond Benson

ISBN: 10:0-8439-6063-9: 13: 978-0-8439-6063-1

Publisher: Leisure Books


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 film   novelizations 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. 

Click Here To Purchase A Hard Day’s Death: A Spike Berenger Hit

 The above review was contributed by: The Publisher & Editor of, 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   Click here to view Norm’s Reviews & Interviews.

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