A Fenway Burke Mystery by James Phoenix
Review: James Phoenix introduces Boston PI Fenway Burke, who has taken on an assignment to investigate the circumstances surrounding a fatal shooting for which the friend of a friend is now doing a life sentence, in Frame Up.
Shawn Corbett is a homicide detective's dream suspect. Burke is told, "Three eyewitnesses saw him pull the trigger. We got the murder weapon, found the victim's wallet in his apartment, half the loot gone. What else you want?" A slam dunk case, with Corbett easily convicted of murder. Burke, however, sees a few flaws in the case that Megan Griffin, Corbett's rookie public defender, may have missed, not the least of which is, how did Burke get from his home turf to the crime scene in Lynn, only fifteen miles away from working class Dorchester but a city that Burke believes is the equivalent of an ocean away for guys like Corbett, whose rap sheet is a mile long but with all his crimes commited locally. With little to go on, and with the help of a now far more experienced Megan Griffin, Burke starts picking apart the case against Corbett.
The narrative in Frame Up is crisply written, a little punchy even, which seems to fit well with the character of Fenway Burke. Boston with its close-knit neighborhoods and surrounding towns are well depicted here, providing a strong backdrop to Burke's investigation. It isn't hard to figure out the whodunit and whydunit — clues to both are liberally sprinkled about early on in the book — but the hows and whys involving Shawn Corbett are a mystery, one that keeps the reader's interest. There's a sense of familiarity to much of what happens here, in part intentional — the author is an unabashed fan of Robert B. Parker — and in part conventional, with a gathering of the suspects in the library to reveal the identity of the killer at the end. Fenway Burke makes for an interesting twist on the Spenser-esque PI, and Frame Up provides a good case in which to introduce him.
Acknowledgment: Grey Swan Press provided an ARC of Frame Up for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Frame Up: Boston, Massachusetts
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Frame Up by James Phoenix — A Fenway Burke Mystery
Publisher: Grey Swan Press
Publication Date: September 2012
List Price: $27.95