this is the 140th in my series of posts on forgotten or seldom read books
Final Notice by Joe Gores, Ballantine Books – 1973 hardcover, edition read and shown, Mysterious Press – private eye – 2nd DKA
“She was a willowy girl wearing a skirt that was too short. At first glance her face held so much vivacity that Ballard thought she was feverish. Then he realized the glitter of her eyes came from contact lenses.”
This book picks up where Dead Skip (last week’s FFB) leaves off. The same cast of characters is engaged in the same activities at Daniel Kearney Associates, and of course they run into trouble. One of the DKA investigators takes a pro-style hit which is partially foiled. It’s quickly apparent that the hit was aimed at Dan Kearney, not the operative who wound up in the hospital.
Of the pair of attackers, Bart Heslip gets to one before he can hop into the stolen getaway car. Bart reacts to his own attack (previous book) and puts the man in the hospital. The attacker is identified as a semi-pro hit man who works at Padilla Trucking in the east bay. Sure, over the years there have been plenty of people who might have a serious grudge against Kearney, but who would try to kill him, or have him killed, on the sidewalk in front of his place of business? Things are no clearer when it becomes apparent Padilla Trucking is run by the Mob.
Then there’s the Cadillac with the comic book on the front seat, hundred dollar bills between the pages, enough to make the back payments which have caused a repo order on it. Is it just another odd occurrence, or can it be tied into the hit?
Gores continues to show us the workings of a detective agency who do their business step by step, tracking down leads, doing the paperwork, taking a methodical approach to finding the reasons, and the perpetrators. The DKA books are P.I. agency procedurals and for me the format and characters work beautifully with the plot. This book naturally follows Dead Skip and you can finish one and pick up the next as if you were starting a next chapter instead of a new book. I happen to like that a lot. Gores doesn’t spend many words catching you up on previous events, each books stands alone but there are enough hints to make sense of references to past events and to justify character motivations when necessary. Another excellent book. I’ll do one more Gores book next week.
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can be found at Patti Abbott’s fine blog Pattinase