I have quickly become a big fan of Michael Wiley’s work. I have read both of his novels and I am going to put him in the mix of my favorite Private Eye Authors .Usually I wait for more than 2 novels in a series to decide that, but I am hooked on his main character, Joe Kozmarski and his surrounding cast. The microcosm that Wiley creates in and around him is interesting and gripping from paragraph one to the very end.
The Last Striptease is the winner of the PWA/SMP Best First Private – Eye Novel contest. After you have read a few pages of the story it is easy to tell why. Here is the blurb on the jacket cover, there are no spoilers in it but it gives you the gist of the novel and the style that Wiley has: ”Private eye Joe Kozmarski has just been asked to clear his childhood friend Bob Piedras of murder. Bob’s latest girlfriend, a young Vietnamese-American beauty, has turned up dead in an airport hotel. No one’s very surprised. She had a taste for hard liquor, drugs, and stripping in front of a camera. And Bob has a history of violence. But Bob’s boss, retired judge Peter Rifkin, is convinced Bob is innocent and he thinks Joe is the one to find the real killer.
But Joe’s life is complicated. He hasn’t spoken to Rifken for fifteen years-ever since his father, now dead, found out that the judge had double crossed him. The dead woman’s brothers, a pair of tough guys, are bent on being the first to find and punish her murderer. On top of that, Joe and his wife have separated and his mother has dropped his eleven year old nephew on him.”
I don’t like to draw comparisons to different authors because each is unique and draws from their own influences. Michael Wiley is a force in this genre, which I think I can safely say. I enjoy mysteries; I enjoy good detective characters. I enjoy a good , fast paced game of cat and mouse and trying to figure out who is the bad guy in the story. Wiley has not only given me that in these two novels but exceeded my expectations. I read these in reverse order, reading The Bad Kitty Lounge first, and it did not detract from them at all. The novels are nice, neat, quick ride reads that will leave you wanting for more. I really enjoy that in a nice character driven piece, because with Joe Kozmarski and Michael Wiley I want more.
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