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Death in the Haight

A Carly Paladino and Noah Lang Mystery by Ronald Tierney

Death in the Haight by Ronald Tierney

Review: San Francisco private investigator Noah Lang is hired by the parents of their kidnapped son to help with the ransom demands, a complicated case made more so when the young man is sought by the police for murder, in A Death in the Haight, the fourth mystery in this series by Ronald Tierney.

Michael Vanderveer had announced to his parents that he was moving from their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan to start a new life in San Francisco. Michael's parents seemed happy to see him go. But now he's gone missing and the Vanderveers have received a ransom demand for $1 million. Meanwhile, the San Francisco police are investigating the murder of a prostitute, who was paid for with a cash card issued to Michael Vanderveer, and are leaning on Noah Lang to assist in their investigation. Lang is torn: assuming he finds the missing young man, safe and alive, he must then turn around and deliver him not to his parents but the police.

The primary question on Noah's mind is, "How does a murderer get kidnapped?" Or more specifically, "How does a gay man accused of murdering a female prostitute get kidnapped?" This conundrum is the core of this sparely written, less than 100 page novella. The storyline itself is first rate and is paced nearly perfectly. There isn't a lot of action, but that doesn't stop the scene set at Giants stadium, to cite one example, from being thrilling all the same. The characters are given a bit of backstory for new readers, though it seems clear that those familiar with the series will have a better appreciation of their interpersonal relationships. Probably the weakest element of A Death in the Haight is the dialog. Given how short the book is, the plot is advanced primarily by characters talking to each other … and to a lesser extent, Noah mulling over the facts in his own mind. The dialog seems at times to be a little too abrupt, a little too stilted; not so much that it detracts from the story, but enough that it often doesn't seem to ring quite true. Still, this may be intentional on the part of the author; all but one of the characters — homicide detective Stern being the exception — are quite reserved, being more introspective than not, holding back a little more than they give.

Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided an eARC of Death in the Haight for this review.

Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Location(s) referenced in Death in the Haight: San Francisco, California

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Death in the Haight by Ronald Tierney

Death in the Haight by A Carly Paladino and Noah Lang Mystery

Publisher: Dutton Guilt Edged Mysteries
Format: Ebook
Publication Date:
List Price: $2.99

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