CLUTCHING AT STRAWS
Jake Diamond Mystery #2
By J.L. Abramo
The follow-up to the award winning Catching Water in a Net…
Lefty Wright had it all figured. In fact he was doing the math as he crawled into the deserted house through the kitchen window. Get to the bedroom, crack open the wall safe, grab the envelope, fifteen minutes. One thousand dollars a minute. Nice score.
What Lefty neglected to factor in were the unknowns. And when the police nab him red-handed and discover the dead body of a prominent Criminal Courts Judge stuffed beneath the bed, Lefty finds himself charged with first degree murder with no shoes, no one believing in his innocence, and one phone call. He calls Jake Diamond.
In his second outing, Diamond attempts to prove Lefty’s innocence while investigating a recent kidnapping and a fifteen year old homicide which may or may not be related to Lefty’s dilemma. From San Francisco to the avocado fields of central California to the sound stages of a film shoot in Denver, Diamond’s suspects seem to have one thing in common; they are in no condition to talk by the time Jake gets to them.
” A worthy successor to “Catching Water in a Net”, Abramo’s second in the San Francisco based Jake Diamond series is a clever and well-crafted detective novel, gritty enough to satisfy hard-boiled readers but not so dark that it will put off more traditional mystery fans. Hired to break into a local judge’s house and extract money and papers from a wall safe, Lefty Wright, a small-time thief, stumbles over the judge’s corpse and is immediately surrounded by policemen. Wright later calls Diamond from prison, where he awaits trial for murder, and convinces the PI of his innocence. As Diamond proceeds with his investigation, the police, the governor and especially prosecuting attorney and DA candidate Lowell Ryder all make it very clear that they don’t want him involved. When Wright is killed “trying to escape” en route to court, things get really interesting. Scrambling to make a case, Diamond trails crooked cops and even resurrects his dormant acting career to appear in a bit part in a movie to get close to a key suspect. Throughout the book, Diamond is reading Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo”, which parallels his current case.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“This workmanlike second entry in the Jake Diamond series finds the San Francisco PI searching for the real killer of an unpopular local judge after one of Diamond’s clients, an accomplished burglar having a very bad night, is fingered for the murder. The deeper Diamond digs, the more folks end up dead–starting with his client and continuing with a low-level mobster, a misguided rich kid, and a couple of cops. The clues point to a rising-star prosecutor running for district attorney, but Diamond has a rough time making his case. The hard-boiled detective with a soft-boiled heart provides most of the book’s low-key charms. Diamond is refreshingly direct with his questioning, listens to his conscience whenever possible, and has a knack for tying classic novels into the action at hand. His football-groupie assistant, Darlene, heads an appealing supporting cast that includes flaky flunky Vinnie “Strings” Stradivarius and Mob-connected confidant Joey Russo. Although the story is light on action and suspense, it’s comfort food for PI fans. ” —Frank Sennett, Booklist