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LIQUID SMOKE


By Jeff Shelby

Tyrus Books, September 6, 2011 ($15.95)
ISBN-10: 1935562541
ISBN-13: 978-1935562542 Kindle Edition: $7.99

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Private eye Noah Braddock is looking to catch some surf time before the afternoon weather turns to rain. He's definitely not looking to hire on to a new case even though he's being pestered by a lawyer, Darcy Gill, who has been making a pathetic attempt to pretend she's a surfer, too. She promises to go away and leave him alone if he'll answer just one question for her. He agrees. But one question leads to another, and another, and the next thing he knows, Ms. Gill is claiming to represent Braddock's here-to-fore unknown father, Russell Simington, who is sitting on death row waiting to be executed. She claims he confessed to killing, execution-style, two Mexican nationals but he refuses to help in his defense. Ms. Gill's job is to try and get his sentence commuted to life in prison. With such an uncooperative client, she feels that Braddock is her last hope for getting Simington to talk about the crime.

It's not easy to pull off a traditional, first-person narrative, private eye novel. Many authors have done it successfully but many authors have tried and failed. This is one of the best first-person P.I. novels I've read in a long time. The Noah Braddock character has the right mix of qualities to keep the reader involved. He's got his problems, most fictional P.I.s do. He's got his good side and bad side and a witty side that may have you chuckling out loud. LIQUID SMOKE will grab the reader's attention on the very first page and won't release it until the final words on the last page.

This is the third book in the Noah Braddock series. This is the first one I've read. Now I need to back track and read the two previous novels KILLER SWELL and WICKED BREAK.

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