Honey is the vivacious, seventeen-year-old daughter of a politician running for state senate and eventually (he hopes) the presidency. But his sweet little girl has a penchant for drug dealers, mad-dog bikers, booze, sex, crank, and guns. She’s run off with Cobra, the leader of a band of motorcycle-gang outcasts who have dubbed themselves the Outriders since they are too hotheaded and reckless for other rival gangs. Honey is on a fast track to taking her father’s career down–along with her hell-bent soul.
Enter Scott Weiss and Jim Bishop. Weiss is a former cop, an accomplished detective with a lot of connections. Bishop is a savvy, strong-willed tough guy and ladies’ man who does the legwork for Weiss’s agency. Bishop’s assignment: infiltrate the Outriders and seduce Honey away. But Cobra is as brilliant as he is bad–an oddly intellectual biker who is one step ahead of everyone on his trail. And Honey is not only young, rich, and beautiful, she is hotter than the hinges of hell, irresistibly alluring, a black widow who draws the hardest, toughest, sharpest hustlers into her lethal web, where she consumes them whole. Have Weiss and Bishop finally met their match? Is Honey too hot to handle?
Scott Weiss is a middle-aged PI based in San Francisco, an ex-cop with a basset hound’s face, a romantic’s soul and an empath’s ability to read others. Jim Bishop is a young, handsome live wire with a taste for violence, drugs and loose women. Bishop works for Weiss, and the interplay between them is only one reason of many to read this memorable thriller from Klavan (Hunting Down Amanda, etc.). Last (and first) seen in last year’s Dynamite Road, Weiss and Bishop here tackle separate cases, with Bishop taking the foreground as he is hired by a millionaire with political ambitions to retrieve the man’s teenage daughter, Holly. She has shucked daddy for Cobra, head of a homicidal outlaw biker gang—and the only way to retrieve her is to seduce her. Meanwhile, Weiss takes on the case of an arch-feminist professor at Berkeley who hires him to track down the anonymous man who, she says, has been harassing her with erotic e-mails. Both cases hold major surprises that spin the narrative around. That narrative itself is a surprise, because although most of it is in the third person, Klavan breaks into it from time to time in his own first person, claiming in a foreword that the story is true and based on his early years working for a PI firm. In any case, the story is emotionally true: Klavan’s understanding of the human heart and how it can be torn or salved by eros is uncanny. There’s sharp action throughout and the interplay between Bishop’s wildness and Weiss’s moral gravity is a wonder. The book’s only flaws are the jarring first-person intrusions, but they’re bumps in a joy ride that’s as exciting and real as any this year in thrillerdom.
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In this breakneck hard-boiled mystery, Klavan brings back the compelling duo who premiered in Dynamite Road (2003): hulking PI Scott Weiss, a brooding, tarnished knight whose hangdog expression oozes weltschmertz, and Jim Bishop, a badass adrenaline junkie saved from a life of crime by Weiss to do the firm’s dirty work. His current walk on the wild side involves infiltrating a vicious biker gang to wrest the wayward daughter of a local politico from the clutches of Cobra, a Charlie Manson wannabe with an abrupt bayonet. Meanwhile on the streets of San Francisco, Weiss hunts for the unreconstructed male behind a spate of erotic e-mail aimed at an icy feminist professor with secrets of her own, assisted by a callow intern whose candid first-person asides bring the whole thing down to earth. The mixture of intense action, fierce sexual obsession, and disillusioned longing is irresistible, and as for the hairpin plot, remember this: follow the money, cherchez la femme, and habeas corpus. This is a sure bet for fans of down-and-dirty thrillers ranging from Vachss to Pelecanos to Lee Child. David Wright
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“Klavan is doing something that is rarely done at all, let alone done well . . . a unique angle on the private eye novel. I liked Dynamite Road. I liked Shotgun Alley even better.” —Michael Connelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Narrows
“Andrew Klavan’s Shotgun Alley is smart, tough and fun. The writing is robust and spot-on, and the story is a collision of powerful characters you just can’t take your eyes off. Splendid entertainment.” –T. Jefferson Parker, Edgar Award winner and bestselling author of Silent Joe
“Klavan’s understanding of the human heart and how it can be torn or salved by eros is uncanny. There’s sharp action throughout and the interplay between Bishop’s wildness and Weiss’s moral gravity is a wonder. . . . A joy ride that’s as exciting and real as any this year in thrillerdom.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Shotgun Alley
“[A] breakneck hard-boiled mystery. . . . The mixture of intense action, fierce sexual obsession, and disillusioned longing is irresistible. A sure bet for fans of down-and-dirty thrillers ranging from Vachss to Pelecanos to Lee Child.”– Booklist on Shotgun Alley
“Klavan takes hold of the darkest side of dark, mounts it on Harley, then revs it up and sends it straight to hell.” – Allan Folsom, New York Times bestselling author of The Exile on Shotgun Alley
“Weiss and Bishop are one of the most original teams in detective fiction. This book has it all—love, lust outlaw bikers, betrayal, and some of the weirdest, wildest characters you’ve ever read.” — Barbara D’Amato, Edgar Award-winning author of Death of A Thousand Cuts on Shotgun Alley
“Andrew Klavan is the most original American novelist of crime and suspense since Cornell Woolrich.”–Stephen King