Jim Bishop is a hard man, as cold as the wind off the water and tough to the point of brutality. Scott Weiss is Bishop's boss, a world-weary ex-cop who runs a private detective agency out of a concrete tower in the heart of San Francisco. In this powerfully original series debut by award-winning and bestselling author Andrew Klavan, Weiss sends Bishop to investigate corruption at a Northern California airport-and so sets events in motion that will lead both men on a desperate hunt for a master assassin.
Bishop's assignment is to investigate the airport and report back to Weiss. But Bishop prefers to make up the rules as he goes along. He's willing to beat any man into the ground and draw any woman into his bed in order to get the answers he's after. A pilot himself, he takes to the air to check out the illegal flights of a thug names Chris Wannamaker. Then he coolly seduces Wannamaker's lonely wife in order to find out more.
Back in the city, as Weiss struggles to rein Bishop in, he begins a connected investigation of his own. A death in a mansion in Presidio Heights, a seemingly random murder South of Market, an apparent suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge, all seem to bear the mark of Weiss' old nemesis, an expert gun-for-hire who goes by the name of the Shadowman. It's a trail of blood, and each step of it seems to bring Weiss closer to Julie Wyant, a mysterious beauty who captures the imagination of every man she meets.
Soon Bishop has found his way into the center of a massive criminal conspiracy, a plan set to climax with an act of audacious violence and a murder that would be impossible for any killer but one. And with his operative's wife in danger, Weiss begins a race against time to outsmart the murderer who stalks his nightmares and to rescue the woman who haunts his dream.
If you like your tough guys really tough, your femme fatale and your action explosive-welcome to Dynamite Road.
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What a shrewd manipulator Klavan is. The author of True Crime and Don't Say a Word again pushes our buttons with unerring finesse. In San Francisco, there's a detective agency, Weiss Investigations, run by Scott Weiss, an ex-cop whose "deep, baggy, sympathetic eyes" have seen it all. When Weiss finds out that Bernie Hirschorn, co-owner of an aviation company several miles north, is up to his propellers in skullduggery, he dispatches one of his operatives, Jim Bishop, to find out what's up. (In one of Klavan's acerbic, cut-to-the-chase observations, Hirschorn is introduced as a VBM Very Bad Man with "lots of money, drug connections. A lot of dead bodies on his way to the top.") Adding to the highly charged scenario, Bishop gets involved in a steamy affair with the wife of Hirschorn's chief pilot, another rogue in a lengthy cast of villains that would do Raymond Chandler proud. Meanwhile, back at the agency, Weiss continues to nurse a crush on a mysterious beauty named Julie Angel or is she really Julie Wyant, and did she take a header off the Bay Bridge, as rumor has it? And just who is the nefarious Shadowman (who "was real whether he was real or not"), and will he find Julie before Weiss can? Klavan's riveting blend of mystery, wiseass attitude and old-fashioned moralizing makes for a wild ride. Forecast: This novel from two-time Edgar winner Klavan marks the launch of a series starring Weiss and Bishop. Klavan's visibility is on the rise, especially since the 2001 movie version of his Don't Say a Word, which starred Michael Douglas, racked up strong numbers at the box office and on DVD rental lists, so expect added interest.