by: S. Scott Stanikmas
A few months back I said that I was going to grab the first book in Timothy Hallinan’s Junior Bender series Crashed and review it for the Indie Revolver fans. After it was announced that Eddie Izzard was going to be involved in the pilot ordered by NBC, I was intrigued.
Fans, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go out of your way and find this book. Hallinan has such an electric style that when he writes as Junior its not some ham-fisted hard-boiled wannabe narration. Junior Bender’s narration has a very natural flow to it, very stream-of-conciousness.
Junior Bender is a burglar extroidinaire. But he’s also a burglar with some scruples. He’s trying hard to balance his professional life as a theif with the fact that he has a loving pre-teen daughter whom he rarely gets to see.
While pulling what should be a run of the mill B&E for a regular client, Junior somehow finds himself blackmailed into helping out a crime family boss who is looking to go legit. One of her new “straight” operations is financing adult films and she’s got a real moneymaker on her hands. Former child star Thistle Downing is so down and out that she’s finally ready to star in her own trio of porno flicks. There’s just one problem – someone doesn’t want these films to get made and they’re going through some extreme measures to make sure production gets halted for good.
That’s where our guy Junior comes in. He’s tasked with finding out who’s trying to shut down production and shut them down so that the cameras can keep rolling and capture every second of Thistle’s inglorious fall from grace.
But Junior has other plans. He’s a man of his word and he’ll do whatever is asked of him, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try like hell to keep Thistle Downing from making a mistake so big she can’t come back from it (and at the same time try to keep himself from ending up on the wrong side of someone’s gun, because, you know, he’d like to stay alive).
Crashed has a great cast of supporting characters that each get their own distinct voice. Never once did any of them feel like a caricature or stereotype. From the film set doctor who cares a little too much to the independent, free wheeling, car driving “orphans” who are only a few years younger than Junior’s own daughter to the James Bond ripoff mafioso bodyguard, everyone felt like a real person and not just words on a page.
Timothy Hallinan has a few more books in the series. I’ve already managed to get the second one, Little Elvises. I’m already anticipating what Hallinan will have our anti-hero go through next. If the adventure is anything like Crashed, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the hell out of it.