Fields Where They Lay
Review: Master thief Junior Bender reluctantly agrees to look into why a mob-owned shopping mall is suddenly seeing an increase in shoplifting even as more of its stores close, in Fields Where They Lay, the sixth mystery in this series by Timothy Hallinan.
Edgerton Mall is doing better this holiday season than it has in a while, enough that two Santas are needed to handle the crowd of children. Still, sales are down and shoplifting is rampant. The mall is owned by a Russian mobster who chooses to go by the name of Poindexter, and he coerces Junior into finding out who is stealing from him Ö and why. Poindexter doesnít believe for a minute it is random shoppers helping themselves to a five-fingered discount, but the people heís previously assigned to the task have come up empty. Junior aligns himself with the mallís chief of security, Wally Durskee, who mans a bank of monitors that display feeds from cameras in the public areas; the spaces occupied by the major department stores, most of which have long since left and which had their own security setups. When one of the small gift shop tenants, a woman widely liked her co-tenants, is killed within the dark confines of one of the abandoned major stores, Junior realizes that shoplifting is least of his concerns.
The storyline in Fields Where They Lay is a solid one, and the resolution to the mystery is really quite unexpected Ö and in a good way. But there are long stretches of narrative that really contribute little to either. At nearly 400 pages, it is easily 100 pages too long. Compared to previous books in this series, itís interesting to find Junior Bender out of his element throughout most of this entry, having to rely on his instincts to get him through some of the tough spots he finds himself in, and to devise a safe way out once he determines whatís really going on at the mall. On balance, despite its unnecessary length, with its strong plot and deftly developed and realized lead character, this is one of the better books in the Junior Bender series.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided a copy of Fields Where They Lay for this review.
Review Copyright © 2017 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
For The Dead
Soho Crime (Hardcover), November 2014
ISBN-13: 9781616951146; ISBN-10: 1616951141
Location(s) referenced in Fields Where They Lay: Los Angeles, California
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Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan — A Junior Bender Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: October 2016
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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