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Vanishing Smile [Mass Market Paperback]

Earl Emerson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1996 Thomas Black Mysteries
"EMERSON AGAIN DELIVERS THE GOODS, dishing out humor, suspense, and heart-pounding action in heaping portions."
--Booklist
Marian Wright is an amateur sleuth in the employ of two attractive young women eager to catch up with their no-account ex-lovers. But when Marian's investigation ends abruptly and ferociously, Seattle private eye Thomas Black has a new case on his hands.
Picking up the pieces of Marian Wright's search for her clients' rogue boyfriends, Thomas encounters a network of people--from ex-cons and prostitutes to other private investigators--all webbed together by a chilling common thread. It's a discovery that speaks volumes about the zealousness of Marian's manhunt, and even suggests a monstrous reason for her sudden death. Yet equally monstrous is an unknown, baseball bat-wielding assailant who seems hell-bent on making sure Thomas Black's investigation stays closed. . . .
"Emerson adds another smoothly written book to his popular series."
--The Seattle Times
"GRITTY."
--Publishers Weekly

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In his eighth adventure (following The Portland Laugher), Seattle PI Thomas Black accompanies lawyer Kathy Birchfield to a mysterious meeting with a client in the mountains on a rainy night. Birchfield's car strikes a pedestrian who seems to materialize out of nowhere. The victim is identified as Birchfield's client, a 71-year-old amateur gumshoe named Marian Wright. Too much about the "accident" looks suspicious to Black, especially when he learns that Wright was hounding several locals with allegations about their sexual histories. The case leads to a web of past lovers who may or may not be linked to a young woman dying of AIDS. Black's investigation is complicated by his love for Kathy, whose fiance he accidentally shot to death several months earlier, and by the return to town of his own wayward father. These relationships show a vulnerable side of the tough, resourceful Black, but they also sometimes slow down the story. Although it takes a chart to keep the characters and their couplings straight, Shamus-winner Emerson wraps them up credibly and does so with gritty panache.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Emerson (The Portland Smile, LJ 6/94) adds another nerve racking case to private detective Thomas Black's file cabinet. After Black and estranged friend Kathy witness the "accidental" death of a 71-year-old amateur sleuth, Black decides to continue the woman's dangerous investigation into the whereabouts of two ne'er-do-well Romeos. Feckless prose, charm, and master wit.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
So you like a good mystery, but McGees long gone and Spenser
sounds more like a bad cliche with every passing title. Take
a look at Thomas Black - Seattle's number one detective.

In this, the third installment in a trilogy beginning with Yellow Dog Party
and The Portland Laugher, our intrepid hero is attempting to
deal with the loss of the love of his life - Kathy Birchfield. It
seems Thomas killed her fiance and that put a damper on Thomas
and Kathy's relationship. Imagine that.

A mutual client sets up a meeting - between Thomas and Kathy
unbeknownst to them and the story is off and running. Thomas
is thrown into an investigation that leads him on several dangerous
twists and turns as he encounters assorted unsavory characters.

Emerson's gift for dialogue reminds the mystery buff of the
best of Robert Parker in the early Spenser stories. The characters
are well developed, and the tale zips along to an unexpected
conclusion.

If you haven't read any of Emerson's Thomas Black books, this
may not be the best place to start. The dynamic between
Thomas and Kathy has been cultivated slowly over the series.
Yellow Dog Party makes more sense as a staarting point for new Black fans,
but The Vanishing Smile is an excellent addition to the series.

It appears Emerson has found a publisher who appreciates him
and recognizes his talent. He has even been all the way to Texas for
book signings, and was well received.

Black is a true man of his time, and Emerson's social commentary right on. Political correctness
is not Thomas's strong suit, much to the delight of the reader.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent entry in one of the best series going! June 21 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
So you like a good mystery, but McGees long gone and Spenser
sounds more like a bad cliche with every passing title. Take
a look at Thomas Black - Seattle's number one detective.

In this, the third installment in a trilogy beginning with Yellow Dog Party
and The Portland Laugher, our intrepid hero is attempting to
deal with the loss of the love of his life - Kathy Birchfield. It
seems Thomas killed her fiance and that put a damper on Thomas
and Kathy's relationship. Imagine that.

A mutual client sets up a meeting - between Thomas and Kathy
unbeknownst to them and the story is off and running. Thomas
is thrown into an investigation that leads him on several dangerous
twists and turns as he encounters assorted unsavory characters.

Emerson's gift for dialogue reminds the mystery buff of the
best of Robert Parker in the early Spenser stories. The characters
are well developed, and the tale zips along to an unexpected
conclusion.

If you haven't read any of Emerson's Thomas Black books, this
may not be the best place to start. The dynamic between
Thomas and Kathy has been cultivated slowly over the series.
Yellow Dog Party makes more sense as a staarting point for new Black fans,
but The Vanishing Smile is an excellent addition to the series.

It appears Emerson has found a publisher who appreciates him
and recognizes his talent. He has even been all the way to Texas for
book signings, and was well received.

Black is a true man of his time, and Emerson's social commentary right on. Political correctness
is not Thomas's strong suit, much to the delight of the reader.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vanishing Smile April 26 2013
By M.Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
not a strong story teller. Story line is weak. As the plot progresses it becomes increasingly boring and uninteresting. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great book May 8 2013
By Verna Metzger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was so happy to find it available and at such a great price. It arrived before it was due, was in great condition and I loved reading it.
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Thomas Black mysteries are very good April 4 2013
By Jenny Hanniver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
. . . and although The Vanishing Smith is not quite the best, it is one of the best. Earl Emerson is a brilliant writer, as good presenting wit and humor as with action-adventure and tragedy. He often reminds me of Terry Pratchett, when PTerry is doing one of the Sam Vimes "Watch" stories, and it's not only because both series involve detection. Perhaps the similarity is largely because both are brilliant writers, The Vanishing Smile is a followup to the one in which Kathy's fiance is killed (there's no serious spoiler to give you that much), but ends on a happier note (no spoiler there either). Just enjoy it.

I left my half-way-read copy on a bus, and it was definitely worth replacing. To read this series, you should start with the first one, The Rainy City. Except for the last (and probably final) Thomas Black novel, Cape Disappointment, they read like one continuous story divided into long chapters.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Oct. 22 2014
By Charles E. Herb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great read
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