CATCHING WATER IN A NET
Jake Diamond Mystery #1
By J.L. Abramo
In this award-winning debut, San Francisco PI Jake Diamond is a hero who plays both sides of the Private Eye street. He is a careless dresser with a sloppy lifestyle and he couldn’t keep his marriage from falling apart. But he also epitomizes the best of the modern shamus. He has the kinds of friends a man in his profession needs-jailbirds, mob bosses, and a cop who can surreptitiously run license plate numbers for him.
Jake has been down on his luck lately, barely making enough money to pay the bills and it looks like business might finally be picking up. A woman comes to his office begging him to find her missing husband who has been accused of murder. Jake remembers that his mentor Jimmy Pigeon always says “Whenever I’m asked to locate a missing spouse, the words ‘no, but thanks for asking’ always come to mind” and almost turns the case down, but then he learns that the murder victim was Jimmy Pigeon.
Determined to discover the identity of Pigeon’s killer, Diamond scrambles between Los Angeles and San Francisco following leads that range from weak to delusional. With the help of his trusty and sarcastic assistant, Darlene Roman, compulsive gambler Vinnie “String” Stradivarius, and Italian-American “businessman” Joey Russo, Jake slowly uncovers the motives behind Pigeon’s murder.
Jake’s adventure has all the components of a great private eye series-scares, suspense, lots of laughs, a few tears and a big surprise at the end.
“Jimmy Pigeon is murdered, and his former student in the PI business, Jake Diamond, feels compelled to find out why. Diamond quickly discovers that Pigeon was in a business squabble with his partner, Harry Harding, about whether to sell their Web bounty-hunting business. When Harding is also murdered, Diamond becomes a suspect. Forced to use his Mob contacts to protect himself, Diamond goes on the lam, running between San Francisco and Los Angeles as he continues to search for the real murderer. First novelist Abramo has the hard-boiled private eye formula down pat–perhaps even too pat. Diamond exhibits every PI cliche in the book, from the bottle in his desk drawer to his antagonistic relationship with the police. On the other hand, the novel is solidly written and captures the mood of the genre. Its selection as the St. Martin’s/Private Eye Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel of 2000 seems a stretch, but the series does bear watching.” —Gary Niebuhr, Booklist
“San Franciscan narrator Jake Diamond easily fits the traditional hard-boiled, whiskey-in-a-drawer, office-on-a-shoestring private eye mold. And the cryptic, hammered-out prose accentuates his dilemma: find the man who allegedly killed Jake’s former mentor in Los Angeles. Jake finds his man but too late. Now he extends his search to the guy who wanted to purchase the dead pair’s Ex-Con.com website business. The obligatory sultry ex-wife, characters with names like Willie Dogtail and Vinnie Stradivarius, and picturesque thugs complicate the plot and add to the atmosphere. Winner of the St. Martin’s 2000 award for best first private eye novel. ” —Library Journal
“San Francisco private investigator Jake Diamond is so much in the mold of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, you can practically hear Hammett and Chandler muttering from the great beyond about copyright infringement. But author J.L. Abramo nevertheless serves up a refreshingly old-school treat with his debut novel, Catching Water in a Net. Abramo shows a clear flair for the genre, and wisely keeps the twists coming fast enough that readers have no choice but to keep turning pages.” — San Francisco Chronicle