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Killing Sky [Mass Market Paperback]

Andy Straka
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2 2002 Frank Palvicek Mysteries (Book 2)
When a Congressman's daughter disappears, Charlottesville P.I. and falconer Frank Pavlicek follows a trail of family secrets to the most dangerous discovery of all-the truth.

"A winning new sleuth whose love of falconry adds uniqueness rarely seen in private investigator novels." (Midwest Book Review)

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Review

His storytelling is as sharp and strong as talons....one of the rising stars of the mystery genre. -- Rick Riordan, Edgar, Shamus & Anthony Award-winning author of The Devil Went Down to Austin

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Political Intrigue Oct. 9 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
PI Frank Pavlicek has been hired by Representative Tor Drummond's daughter Cassidy to find her twin Cartwright. The college freshman disappeared on her way to break up with her boyfriend. But the boyfriend claims she never made it over. Then her rental car is found with bloody fingerprints. All Frank has to go on is a 20 year old newspaper article about a hit and run car accident. Will that be enough to find her before it's too late? If it isn't already. Meanwhile, he's struggling with letting his red-tailed hawk Armistead return to the wild.
I'm not normally a reader of PI novels, but this series is making me rethink that. The storyline is interesting, and the characters are well drawn. I am aware they fall well within PI novel norms, but that doesn't really bother me in the least. The added element of falconry adds another level of interest to an already strong book.
This series is certainly worth a look if you enjoy PI novels. And if you don't normally read them, pick these up and give the sub-genre a try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hardboiled Political Saga April 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Andy Straka's "A Killing Sky" is a private detective story loosely based upon headlines from what seems long ago, but is actually less than two years ago. Gary Condit is the real life doppleganger for fictional Virginia Congressman Tor Drummond, a man desperately seeking re-election despite a nasty sex scandal. When one of the Congressman's twin daughters disappears, the other hires Charlottesville Private Eye Frank Pavlicek to determine her wherabouts. Pavilcek is, of course, dubious at the beginning, and not surprisingly ends up with far more than he bargained for as he probes into the Congressman's sleazy life.
Anyone who reads a lot of private eye fiction will find plenty of familiarity in Straka's book. Pavilcek cracks wise and has a somewhat mysterious, tough-guy sidekick (his former partner from his days with the NYPD), an emotionally strong and supportive girlfriend and an eccentric hobby (he's a Falconeer). Straka's descriptions of Charlottesville (home of the University of Virginia) are so accurate and inviting that they could have been written by the Chamber of Commerce.
As for the mystery, even though some of the minor elements of the book are a bit cliche (the Chief of Police is a jerk, the Feds are the clumsy heavies, the Congressmen's Chief of Staff is cast right out of the movie "No Way Out"), you can forgive it because Straka's prose and storytelling are so fresh and immediate. For example, Pavilcek's relationship with his college age daughter, who sometimes helps him with his cases, never lapses into cheap sentimentality the way it could in a lesser writer's hands. The build up to the climax is well done and when it comes it is explosive and ultimately satisfying climax.
Overall, an outstanding work of private eye fiction from a recently bygone era that I'm sure we all wish could return to.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Art of the Gimmick Feb. 18 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"A Killing Sky" has a quasi-political plot involving hanky panky in high places. Given the last decade in American politics, anything short of the president of the United States concealing a harem of thousands in the Casbah is unlikely to even raise an eyebrow. When Cassidy Drummond consults P.I. Frank Pavlicek about the disappearance of her twin, Cartwright, he is reluctant and remains so though most of the tale. The Drummond twins are daughters of a high-placed politico who has enough clout to subvert any embarrassing investigations.
Frank is yet another former homicide cop with a sidekick named Joe Tornado who could easily go by the name Hawk. Frank has a sophisticated love interest, Marcia (read Susan) and his hobby is falconry. (Well, Berretta had a cockatoo.) He lives in beautiful Charlottesville, VA and, like Jonathan Kellerman, a stickler for giving you routes, street names and landmarks. I always thought my lack of enthusiasm for this sort of information was because I did not know Los Angeles. I have lived in Charlottesville, and I can vouch for Mr. Stranka's authenticity, but I spent a lot of time visualizing exactly where I was when it really didn't make much difference to the plot. I know some readers enjoy this very much.
I think Mr. Stranka is a good workmanlike writer. He takes care and precision with his plots. "A Killing Sky" just has too much a look of being written from a blueprint of what makes a successful mystery novel.
-sweetmolly-Amazon Reviewer
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow... Jan. 14 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I haven't read a detective novel since my Nancy Drew days. Didn't think I'd enjoy them, and besides, my attention span is ridiculously short.
I was given a copy of A KILLING SKY last Saturday, so I picked it up, just to have a look, on Sunday evening. It dropped from my hand as I fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning. I picked it up first thing Monday and found myself -- still in my pajamas -- at noontime, when the book ended and finally let me go.
If you like the kind of book that grabs you by the lapels and doesn't let go until it's done with you, then A KILLING SKY is just the ticket.
-Janis Jaquith, author of BIRDSEED COOKIES: A FRACTURED MEMOIR
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5.0 out of 5 stars Straka On Stride Dec 27 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Andy Straka's novel is a terrific mystery. A year ago, Publishers Weekly declared him a "Rising Star" of the mystery world, and Killing Sky proves their point perfectly. Mr. Straka has a great private detective lead and a wonderful supporting cast. His plot is crisp and the mystery is a swift read. I'm eagerly anticipating the next book in his series.
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