Master burglar Junior Bender has a big problem, but it’s not the kind of problem you would expect someone in Junior’s profession normally to have. There are no cops hot on his trail because, truth be known, the cops don’t even have Junior on their radar screen. He is that good at what he does. No, Junior’s problem is that he is a burglar with a conscience who is forced to deal with a wide assortment of people for whom conscience doesn’t even figure into the equation.
Still, it is only after a planned-to-the-split-second burglary suddenly goes pear shaped that Junior realizes just how a serious a chain of events he has inadvertently triggered. King Maybe, probably the most ruthless and most powerful man in all of Hollywood, wants Junior to do something for him – and declining the job is not something he is going to let Junior do. King Maybe may not be much of a physical specimen (only those who don’t know him, though, would dare label him the shrimp he is), but his money and vicious cruel-streak make him one very dangerous man.
King Maybe is the fifth book in Timothy Hallinan’s Junior Bender series, and the now fortyish Junior has been breaking into houses and businesses without ever once having been caught since he was fourteen years old. That’s more than two decades of unbroken success, but Junior has to wonder if that means that he is unlikely ever to be caught, or that the odds are increasingly more likely that his day is drawing near. Junior really has no idea, but hedges his bet by keeping a detailed escape plan firmly in place. At a moment’s notice, Junior Bender is prepared to disappear, assume a well-crafted new identity, and begin life anew far from California.
King Maybe can correctly be characterized as a “crime thriller,” but that would be shortchanging both the book and its author because Tim Hallinan’s novels are as character-driven as any literary fiction out there. Longtime fans of the series are familiar with the Junior Bender character at this point, and they know pretty much what to expect from him in most circumstances (although Junior does show a side of his character at the end of this one that I didn’t suspect he had). What keeps the series so fresh is Hallinan’s talent for creating memorable side characters for Junior to interact with, be they Filipino houseboys, love interests, or villains like the high-heeled cowboy boot wearing King Maybe, a little man with a big ego.
Hallinan has done it again. This one is fun.
(Review Copy provided by Publisher)