My friend Timothy Hallinan is one of the best crime novelists around, and his new one, “Little Elvises,” is not to be missed. Instead of going on about it myself, I’m going to let him tell you a little about himself and his new novel:
ABOUT TIMOTHY HALLINAN
I’m a 2011 Edgar and Macavity Best Novel nominee for my fourth Poke Rafferty Bangkok thriller, THE QUEEN OF PATPONG. The series has been translated into eight languages and is in development for television, although we all know what the odds are on that. In the 1990s I wrote a critically praised series about an overeducated private eye — lots of college degrees — named Simeon Grist. It was greeted with profound indifference by the reading public but got good reviews everywhere.
I started the new series, of which LITTLE ELVISES is the second, for fun. I had a voice in my head, a burglar who works as a private eye for crooks, and I liked the tone and the potential that the books could be both hardboiled and funny. I wrote the first one, CRASHED, and turned down a publishing contract and instead did it direct-to-ebook. It did okay — sales are down now but it sold pretty briskly for the first 6 months. And it’s had great reader reviews – 24 so far, 23 of which are 5 stars. My agent pitched LITTLE ELVISES to a different publisher and they also made an offer, but I decided to stay with ebooks, since the Poke books are still being published on paper. LITTLE ELVISES is, I think, one of the two best things I’ve ever written, the other being QUEEN.
I divide my time between Los Angeles and Southeast Asia. Earlier this year, I conceived and edited an ebook collection of short stories by 20 very good mystery writers to raise money for the 2011 Japan Relief Fund. SHAKEN: STORIES FOR JAPAN is available for Kindle, and even Amazon is donating its usual cut, so every penny of the $3.99 price goes to the Fund. We got it up on the 3-month anniversary of the disaster, and It’s raised quite a bit of money already.
ABOUT LITTLE ELVISES
The link to the Amazon page is http://www.amazon.com/Little-Elvises-Junior-Bender-ebook/dp/B005HPL3F4/
Junior Bender is a San Fernando valley burglar, an unhappily divorced man who still cares for his former wife and adores his 12-year-old daughter, Rina. Junior’s a very, very good burglar. Despite plying his trade for most of his late-teen and adult life, he’s never been arrested. He also runs a profitable, if dangerous, sideline: he works as a private eye for crooks. When someone does something crooked to a crook, the police are often not an option. The option is Junior.
This moonlighting has not made him popular with some members of the LA underworld, and with the cops also interested in him, Junior lives in a series of motels, in a region that’s especially rich in awful motels. The motel of the month is part of each book, in one way or another. (In LITTLE ELVISES, it’s Marge ‘n Ed’s North Pole.)
In LITTLE ELVISES, Junior is forced by a corrupt cop to go to the rescue of an old record producer, a guy who, in the sixties, grabbed handsome boys off of Philadelphia stoops and turned them into little Elvises for six months or a year, until the fans got tired of them. A supermarket-tabloid journalist has been murdered on Hollywood Boulevard and the cops think the music producer did it because — well, because he was planning to do it. He was even scouting for a hit man, which someone told the cops, but somebody else got to the journalist first. So the story takes Junior into the arena of old-time rock-and-roll, missing persons, the world’s oldest still-dangerous gangster, a murderer of young women, and a terrifying if somewhat hapless hit man named Fronts.