Saturday, August 15, 2009

09.26 Eureka by William Diehl

Eureka (2002) by William Diehl
Pbk., Ballantine, 470 p.

Not really sure why I picked this one up in a used bookstore. The only book I recognize by Diehl was Sharky’s Machine which was made into a movie with Burt Reynolds (?). Nevertheless, this turned out to be an excellent crime novel and a great vacation read.

This is one of those crime books that has its roots deeply buried in an event that happened way in the past. In this case it is something that occurred in the 1920’s in a town called Eureka, on the coast near LA.

Flash forward to the 40’s before the war and Zeke Bannon is a homicide detective in LA. Him and his partner investigate the death of a woman who appears to have been killed when her radio fell into the bathtub. Zeke is one of those dogged cops that never think things are quite what they seem and he ferrets out some inconsistencies in the tragic death.

Without revealing more of the plot I can only say that the author does a great job of setting up the story and zipping back and forth in time. Most of the first third of the book takes place in the past and the rest in 40’s LA. Diehl does a nice job of writing the hardboiled style of Chandler or Hammett. He is also great with the little details about the cars, clothes, etc.

I would recommend this book as worth picking up if you saw it on the dollar rack or on the bookshelf of your next vacation getaway.

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