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Dynamite Road [Hardcover]

Andrew Klavan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 15 2003 Klavan, Andrew
Jim Bishop is a hard man, as cold as the wind off the water and tough to the point of brutality. Scott Weiss is Bishop's boss, a world-weary ex-cop who runs a private detective agency out of a concrete tower in the heart of San Francisco. In this powerfully original series debut by award-winning and bestselling author Andrew Klavan, Weiss sends Bishop to investigate corruption at a Northern California airport-and so sets events in motion that will lead both men on a desperate hunt for a master assassin.

Bishop's assignment is to investigate the airport and report back to Weiss. But Bishop prefers to make up the rules as he goes along. He's willing to beat any man into the ground and draw any woman into his bed in order to get the answers he's after. A pilot himself, he takes to the air to check out the illegal flights of a thug names Chris Wannamaker. Then he coolly seduces Wannamaker's lonely wife in order to find out more.

Back in the city, as Weiss struggles to rein Bishop in, he begins a connected investigation of his own. A death in a mansion in Presidio Heights, a seemingly random murder South of Market, an apparent suicide off the Golden Gate Bridge, all seem to bear the mark of Weiss' old nemesis, an expert gun-for-hire who goes by the name of the Shadowman. It's a trail of blood, and each step of it seems to bring Weiss closer to Julie Wyant, a mysterious beauty who captures the imagination of every man she meets.

Soon Bishop has found his way into the center of a massive criminal conspiracy, a plan set to climax with an act of audacious violence and a murder that would be impossible for any killer but one. And with his operative's wife in danger, Weiss begins a race against time to outsmart the murderer who stalks his nightmares and to rescue the woman who haunts his dream.
If you like your tough guys really tough, your femme fatale and your action explosive-welcome to Dynamite Road.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

What a shrewd manipulator Klavan is. The author of True Crime and Don't Say a Word again pushes our buttons with unerring finesse. In San Francisco, there's a detective agency, Weiss Investigations, run by Scott Weiss, an ex-cop whose "deep, baggy, sympathetic eyes" have seen it all. When Weiss finds out that Bernie Hirschorn, co-owner of an aviation company several miles north, is up to his propellers in skullduggery, he dispatches one of his operatives, Jim Bishop, to find out what's up. (In one of Klavan's acerbic, cut-to-the-chase observations, Hirschorn is introduced as a VBM-Very Bad Man-with "lots of money, drug connections. A lot of dead bodies on his way to the top.") Adding to the highly charged scenario, Bishop gets involved in a steamy affair with the wife of Hirschorn's chief pilot, another rogue in a lengthy cast of villains that would do Raymond Chandler proud. Meanwhile, back at the agency, Weiss continues to nurse a crush on a mysterious beauty named Julie Angel-or is she really Julie Wyant, and did she take a header off the Bay Bridge, as rumor has it? And just who is the nefarious Shadowman (who "was real whether he was real or not"), and will he find Julie before Weiss can? Klavan's riveting blend of mystery, wiseass attitude and old-fashioned moralizing makes for a wild ride.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Klavan, who likes to try new things, wanders over into Jim Thompson territory in this tough-talking, sexy thriller. Even the title suggests a Thompson novel: explosive, violent. But this is no pale imitation of someone else's work; it's flashy, exciting, and altogether original. Jim Bishop is a private eye checking out a pilot at a local airport; a handsome man with an eye for the ladies, he considers it part of his job to seduce the pilot's wife to get information. Meanwhile Bishop's boss, Scott Weiss, has a case of his own: his archenemy, a hired gun who calls himself Shadowman, may be back in action. Can Weiss keep an eye on his operative at the airport and still focus on bringing down a killer? Filled with characters straight out of a 1950s potboiler, this rip-roarin' story is tailor-made for hard-boiled fans with a soft spot for the pulp masters--Thompson, of course, but Cornell Woolrich and David Goodis, too. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Humor and irony mixed with sex and murder March 28 2004
Format:Hardcover
In this action thriller, an investigative team has to get through a tangled web of brutal killers to get to the evil Shadowman, a killer so cold blooded and efficient that his mere presence stiffens you in fear. Jim Bishop is the field agent who thinks he's a match for the dreaded hitman, both mentally and physically. He works for Scott Weiss, an ex-cop running a PI agency and a man with uncanny perceptions into the criminal mind.
When Bishop learns that the Shadowman's target is the mysterious Julie Wyant, aka, Julie Angel, a redhead whose beauty tends to intoxicate men's minds, and that the only man who knows her new identity and location is in protective custody in a high tech maximum security prison, he realizes where the Shadowman is going or already is.
Weiss tries to rein his agent in, knowing that he's gotten involved with Kathleen, a married woman, in order to gain intel on her pilot husband who works for Hirshhorn, the murderous leader of a criminal conspiracy and the man who hired the Shadowman. But Bishop's wiles get him into the heart of the operation and defeat any attempt to save him from his own fearless hide.
In the realm of the action thriller, humor and irony are qualities that set a book and its author apart. To illustrate that in this case, here's an excerpt. Bishop had just saved Kathleen from certain death and she saved him from the same fate by grabbing the killer's gun. She holds it on Bishop, the man who has broken her heart.
"Kathleen thought so too, she thought she just might shoot him too. She sure as hell wanted to. She had shot that other man, Goldmunsen, after all, and she had felt really good about it. If she shot Bishop she thought she would feel even more good. Shooting people seemed to work for her. In fact, she was sick and tired of not shooting people."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining March 25 2004
Format:Hardcover
Scott Weiss, ex-cop, now owner of a private investigation agency, sends Jim Bishop, one of his operatives, to a small airport in northern California. Ray Grambling, part owner of the FBO, has concerns that one of his pilots, Chris Wannamaker, may be involved in some kind of very shady deal with Bernie Hirschorn, the other FBO partner.
Bishop, operating undercover as Frank Kennedy, enjoys living on the edge He pushes Chris to the limit by seducing his wife and spreading rumors about his drinking in hopes that he (Bishop) will be hired to replace Chris as the pilot for the big job that Hirschorn has planned.
In the meantime, Ben Fry, whom we later realize is also know as the Shadowman, has gone to great lengths (even to implanting a device under his skin that won't show up in strip searches) to get himself imprisoned in the most secure prison in California, one reserved for incorrigibles and extremely violent offenders.
Weiss, during the course of another investigation, realizes that several people have been killed or have disappeared in seemingly unrelated events, and he finds a startling connection. They are all related to Whip, a man who specialized in creating new identities for criminals, identities so secure that once created, no law enforcement agency has been able to penetrate them. Whip, having knowledge of who became whom, is terrified that he may also have become a target, so he is placed in deep protective custody in a maximum security prison (guess what's coming?).
The book is a little unusual in that we see the story evolve from three points of view: Bishop's, Weiss's, and the first-person narrative of another Weiss employee. He stands in awe of Weiss's understanding of human nature. The narrator, whose name we never learn, inadvertently solves the Case of the Spanish Virgin and discovers some key elements of the case against the Shadowman. If this all sounds a little hokey, I suppose that's because it is. Still, a very entertaining read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful in its Simplicity Dec 19 2003
Format:Hardcover
This is the first novel I've read by Andrew and I have read 130 thrillers in the past year. 10 occupy my "hall of fame" shelf. Dynamite Road makes it 11. In the context of a tough guy mystery, Klavan spins out original gut punching turns of phrase in which I delight. My copy bleeds with yellow highlighter. Ignore, the name Shadowman and read the book for its brilliant simplicity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXPLOSIVELY DIFFERENT Dec 11 2003
Format:Hardcover
It seems the trend these days in "series" novels to make the hero unlikeable. Dan Simmons is doing it in his "Hard" series; now Klavan in the debut novel of his series is doing the same thing with the seemingly inhuman Jim Bishop. Bishop uses women as if they were toothpicks, discarding them once he's done; he has only one real friend and that is his boss, Weiss. But still, Bishop is a man who gets the job done, recklessly if necessary.
Klavan uses the green P.I. (referencing him as the author himself) effectively and the shifts between what's going on with Bishop and Weiss are intriguing. Weiss' character, who has a thing for prostitutes, also finds himself enamored with the enigmatic Julie Wyant, a woman who supposedly jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. But he's sure this beautiful woman is still out there, given a new appearance by the Identity Man.
There's a lot going on in this book: why would this killer Ben Fry want to be imprisoned in a high-tech, no escape prison? Why does he put this mysterious capsule into his thigh?
A very entertaining book, and if the subsequent Weiss/Bishop novels can continue this refreshing change of pace, they should all be dynamite!
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