A Deadly Business - Lenny Bartulin
Jack's life has certainly been a roller-coaster - there are liberal hints throughout the book of a somewhat less than spotless background and there's a pared down, minimalist sort of a private life. But his bookshop is something that is his, and he obviously knows a bit about the business. So he's surprised when somebody starts offering ridiculous amounts of money per copy for the books of a very obscure local poet - Edward Kass. But cash is cash, so after tracking down a copies he delivers them as requested.
Hammond Kasprowicz doesn't really come across as a bibliophile - he seems more interested in quantity than quality, and it really doesn't seem he's interested in reading the books. But there's that cash thing, and besides Jack is busy being distracted by Hammond's daughter Annabelle. Which attention underwhelms her soon to be ex-husband (the disgraced former gynaecologist). Needless to say - Jack ends up in trouble, the Police end up involved and Jack is not sure if he really deserves the girl.
A DEADLY BUSINESS makes secondhand bookshop owning a contact sport. Given that Jack's adventures are about as far away from the musty, dusty, quiet expectations more normally expected from that business, the twist is done with considerable aplomb. There are touches of noir; a somewhat startled accidental detective; a would be tragic romantic lead; combined with slapstick and some subtle and really funny injokes.
There's also a pretty good plot - with some nice, if not just ever so slightly twisted reasons for everything that happens. All in all A DEADLY BUSINESS was highly entertaining and it's good to know that there's a second Jack Susko book in the making.
Jack Susko is trying for a quiet life in his second-hand bookshop in downtown Sydney. It's more tin mine than gold mine, yet it's his and that's something. But when a wealthy businessman hires Jack to locate some books for him, life starts to get a little more complicated. Soon he's up to his neck in family secrets, corruption and murder, plunged into a world he thought he'd left behind. Making a play for the businessman's beautiful daughter doesn't help matters. And as the bodies start piling up, Jack can't help but wonder when second-hand book dealing became so dangerous.