Friday, February 22, 2013

Lady Crymsyn by P.N. Elrod

 Jack has, with Gordy's help, managed to launder the money he appropriated a couple of books back, from Frank Paco's embezzlement from the mob, and is finally realizing his dream of opening up his own night club, where Bobbi can headline until she gets noticed enough to head to Hollywood and be a movie star. As the story begins, he is just days away from opening up Lady Crymsyn, which will be a very high class joint - without the usual mob-run and protected casino, only the legal vices allowed.

A snag develops when the workers remodeling the basement of the building find a corpse, walled up to die alone - a woman in a bright red gown. Ever the white knight, Jack decides it's his responsibility to find out who she was and who was responsible for her murder, and to bring them to justice, if possible. All of this in his spare time while trying to hire staff, oversee construction, and get his club open on time.

The early trail leads to the usual suspects, the gangsters and their molls - or frails - who had something to do with the building under previous ownership. The old owner of the club was killed in a grenade attack, and the perpetrators were never caught, either, so perhaps Fleming can kill two birds with one stone here. This one has some fantastic twists towards the end, and takes us along on an unexpected narrative journey.

The only problem I have with the series at this point is that I would think that Jack would have figured out by now not to turn his back on henchmen carrying weapons, especially wooden ones that can actually knock him down and out for a significant time period. His squeamishness about not beating up or killing thugs is a huge handicap - he needs to just get over it.

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