Some Dead Genius
A Bergman and Dunegan Novel by Lenny Kleinfeld
Review: Dale Phipps, a failed gallery owner who owes money to the wrong kind of people, has what may be a brilliant scheme to pay off his debts: buy up the paintings of talented — but still very much alive — artists, arrange for the artist to be in a fatal "accident", and then sell the acquired artwork at substantially higher prices. And it's working … until the mob shows up and, after several years of success, his partner in crime has ideas of his own, in Some Dead Genius, the second comic adventure for Chicago cops Mark Bergman and John Dunegan.
Dale decides on a set of rules to follow: String out the buys over months, wait three-six months before you whack the artist, then string out the sales. Whack older artists — their [work] is worth more, and it's easier to make it look like a natural event. Don't hit Chicago artists, too close to home and makes a pattern. Same reason, don't hit more than one artist in any city. But Tommy Tesca, his original partner in the scheme — and the guy that forced Dale to come up with the plan in the first place — gets impatient after a few years and decides to head off on his own. But he doesn't have any rules let alone follow them, and his hits draw the attention of Chicago homicide detectives Bergman and Dunegan, one of whom just happens to be seeing an artist on Tommy Tesca's hit list.
It is tricky at first to follow the action in Some Dead Genius. The narratives — and respective points of view — alternate between the present (2012) and the past (2005, then moving forward) until the two merge at about the half-way point in the book. The path there and beyond is violent, profane, X-rated, and also quite funny. There isn't any mystery per se here, rather it is simply a story told of a criminal scheme that is inexplicably and unexpectedly successful and — best of all — undetected by authorities until suddenly is isn't. This crime novel most certainly is not for everyone, but those who can see past the sex and violence and language will definitely be in for a most exhilarating ride.
Acknowledgment: Lenny Kleinfeld provided a copy of Some Dead Genius for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Shooters & Chasers
Five Star (Hardcover), January 2009
ISBN-13: 9781594147395; ISBN-10: 1594147396
Location(s) referenced in Some Dead Genius: Chicago, Illinois
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Some Dead Genius by Lenny Kleinfeld — A Bergman and Dunegan Novel
Publisher: Niaux-Noir Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2014
List Price: $14.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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