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Done for a Dime [Hardcover]

David Corbett
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
Every black-and-white to be spared had come, seven of the ten on graveyard, drawn in once the watch commander broke the Code 33. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing April 8 2004
The author has presented what, on the surface, seems like a
murder mystery as an older musician is shot in the back and
killed, for no apparent good reason, and the local cops start
their tedious process of questioning everyone.
But he goes much beyond that, and the story becomes quite complex, as to both the characters, as well as their motivations. So, in those senses, this can be a good read, and
many people will enjoy the complex story and the serious development of many characters.
However, the author has a strange way of trying to engage our interest, because he engages in so much "in" lingo, it's difficult to follow who all these people are and what they are
doing. He uses "inside" language when presenting the police
detectives and their work, the gangbangers and other criminals
who may be involved, the nearby dopers, and the corrupt politicians, so most of us are floundering a bit as we try to
decipher his language and its meaning.
This approach just doesn't quite seem designed to bring readers
into his fictional world, but, on the other hand, it does seem
to be used as a barrier to prevent our strong interest and engagement. A very odd use of language for a writer.
Instead of using the English language to inform and captivate
most readers, he seems more interesting in keeping our interest
at a distance.
This just isn't for everyone, because it is difficult to follow
in many places.
In addition, the overall tone of this book is so negative, and
so bleak, it becomes depressing, and while the author does a nice job of perfecting that bleak, down atmosphere, throughout
the entire story, that tone and atmosphere won't suit everyone.
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"The Devil's Redhead" brought David Corbett critical kudos and an Edgar nomination for Best First Novel, 2003. I've read me, it's a hands-down winner, and "Done for a Dime" is every bit as explosive and compelling an exploration of the darker side of noir as that debut outing was. It's certainly equally well-written and so completely realistic as to make it abundantly clear that Mr. Corbett is a powerful new voice in suspense fiction. Rio Mirada in Northern California is schismatically polarized: economically, racially and geographically. Gang warfare, drug trafficking, political corruption, chicanery and greed have created a climate of violence in the Baymont area particularly which angst-ridden Detective Dennis Murchison; his bigot partner, Larry Stluka, and their fellow police can only hope to contain, not curtail. The latest random killing finds black jazz legend, Raymond 'Strong' Carlisle, brutally gunned down in his front yard. Cantankerous, proud and feisty, ill-health and age have forced him into an uneasy dependence upon his estranged musician son, Toby Marchand, who has a major problem explaining his fast arrival at the scene of his Dad's murder. Trying to uncover a motive for the old man's death by unraveling the last hours of his life, Murchison learns that Carlisle had taken part in a brawl at the Zoom Room (where he'd gone to hear his son's band with Toby's white girl friend, Nadya Lazarenko), effectively endangering Toby's gig there, and also tangled with some gang members, one of whom, Arlie Thigpen, had later been spotted in the vicinity of the Carlisle home by a neighbor. Read more ›
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There is tension between father and son because famous blues musician Raymond "Strong" Carlisle has started drinking again only months after having a kidney removed. Toby Marchand moved in with his father to nurse him through his health crisis and is irate that his dad disobeys medical orders. Toby goes to play with his own band at a nearby club and his girlfriend Nadya escorts his father to see him perform.
Strong picks a fight with everyone he comes in contact with. When he returns home someone kills him with three bullets in his back. The police turn their attention to Toby and Nadya, but that fails to turn up any leads. What the police have yet to realize is that the killer lives next door to Carlisle in a boarded up Victorian, waiting to set fire to a part of the town that his clients want destroyed. These developers want to rebuild it in the image that will bring them the most profit. Whether the killer will succeed in carrying out his objective remains to be read.
David Corbett's story line is stark, gritty and totally believable. From the police to the average citizen to the criminals, Mr. Corbett creates a microcosm of life in the pages of DONE FOR A DIME. His perspectives is realistic and readers will accept that the lead detective on the case has to go outside the law to try to see that justice occurs. While many readers will not agree with the protagonist's solution, they will understand why he was driven to break the laws he was sworn to uphold. This is one police procedural it will be impossible to forget.
Harriet Klausner
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