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5.0 out of 5 stars Humor and irony mixed with sex and murder
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...
Published on March 28 2004 by Jules Brenner

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1.0 out of 5 stars Highly Overrated
I really wanted to like this book. I have read Klavan's other books and very much enjoyed them. However, this book is a major disappointment. Every character is a cliche. The plot is at best stupid, and that's being kind. And any comparison to Chandler or Jim Thompson is way off the mark. This novel is not of the "hard-boiled detective" genre. It's more like a...
Published on Nov. 26 2003


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5.0 out of 5 stars Humor and irony mixed with sex and murder, March 28 2004
By 
Jules Brenner "~ Critical Mystery Tour" (Hollywood, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dynamite Road (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
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This review is from: Dynamite Road (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 EXPLOSIVELY DIFFERENT, Dec 11 2003
By 
Michael Butts "as i see it" (Martinsburg, WV United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dynamite Road (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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5.0 out of 5 stars New Exciting Directions, Dec 11 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dynamite Road (Hardcover)
Those of us who eagerly await Andrew Klavan's novels are rewarded again. DYNAMITE ROAD is the latest in a series of thrillers (DON'T SAY A WORD, MAN AND WIFE, THE ANIMAL HOUR and TRUE CRIME, among others) which have that eerie ring of truth, which make them so easy to enjoy and impossible to put down.
Klavan introduces the Weiss Agency with Jim Bishop and Scott Weiss, detectives who live and work in a gritty, rugged world. There is very little sentimentality here and cruel, disturbing things happen and these unorthodox detectives will stop at nothing to achieve their goal, even venturing beyond their client's wishes, once they become involved in this marvelous adventure.
The author clearly is fascinated by the intricacies of flying small planes and the mechanics of flying unifies the story, making this book a must read for anyone with a similar interest.
Klavan has written another exciting book, with a twist. Returning to much earlier days, he has invented characters who promise to return, hopefully in the near future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss Dynamite Road, Dec 2 2003
By 
Robert E. Hurlbett (Santa Barbara, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dynamite Road (Hardcover)
Andrew Klavan, one of this country's most creative writers, wrote Dynamite Road as the first in a much anticipated series following heralded stand-alones including The Scarred Man (as Keith Peterson), Hunting Down Amanda, The Uncanny, True Crime, Corruption, The Animal Hour, Don't Say A Word and Man and Wife. True Crime (by Clint Eastwood) and Don't Say A Word (starring Michael Douglas) were hit movies. If Dynamite Road isn't already on some prominent director's priority list, Hollywood isn't paying attention.
I'm always impressed with Klavan's ability to write fresh material without sounding repetitious or trite so I'm looking forward to the next edition of the Scott Weiss and Jim Bishop show. Weiss is a successful PI and former cop with an active intuitive sense and a fondness for good scotch. Bishop rides big bikes, flies multi-engine aircraft (Klavan is also a pilot so he knows the technology) and handles his women just about anytime he wants to. Julie Wyant, every man's fantasy, doesn't even make a corporeal appearance in Dynamite Road but she'll blow the pages off the first book to introduce her. Meanwhile, ultimate bad-guy, the Shadowman, provides an element of horror that is beautifully crafted without being over-stated. This is a sexy, fast-paced thriller that should draw you inexorably from beginning to end...
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1.0 out of 5 stars Highly Overrated, Nov. 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dynamite Road (Hardcover)
I really wanted to like this book. I have read Klavan's other books and very much enjoyed them. However, this book is a major disappointment. Every character is a cliche. The plot is at best stupid, and that's being kind. And any comparison to Chandler or Jim Thompson is way off the mark. This novel is not of the "hard-boiled detective" genre. It's more like a 15 year old's idea of what a tough-guy detective book would read like. The main villain is called "The Shadowman". Give me a break. My son could have come up with a better name than that. To think that this is the beginning of a proposed series is really depressing. Don't be taken in by all the blurbs on the back of the book by other authors. This incestous habit of praising each other's books does not give these writers much credibility. It seems too much a case of "Say something nice about my book, and I'll say something nice about yours". If you really need to read this book, get it from your public library. You won't have to kick yourself for having wasted money on this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars makes Spade and Marlow look like wimps, Nov. 7 2003
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This review is from: Dynamite Road (Hardcover)
Known by employees, clients, and the author's family as the Agency, Weiss Investigation is a San Francisco private detective firm. Owner Scott Weiss assigns Jim Bishop to investigate the questionable flight activities of Chris Wannamaker at a small airport off of Driscoll in Northern California. When Jim arrives in town, he introduces himself to Ray Grambling as Frank Kennedy his new pilot. Jim meets Chris' wife Kathleen, Director of Operations, and quickly seduces her to obtain information.
Meanwhile Weiss investigates three recent deaths that seem connected to only him. Weiss, a former cop, recognizes the signature of his enemy, the assassin Shadowman. Soon Weiss' work ties in to the havoc that Bishop is causing. As the murder count rises and somehow femme fatale Julie Wyant is in the center of the storm if only because Weiss cannot ignore her lure, the two sleuths must stop an enormous murder conspiracy that only the Shadowman could achieve.
Though the conspiracy that ties all the crimes together seems stretched, fans of hard boiled detectives that make Spade and Marlow look like wimps will enjoy DYNAMITE ROAD. The story line places the classic elements of the 1930s sleuths inside a modern day setting. The comparison between the by the book Weiss and the break it even if its okay Bishop is a delight to follow as they disagree about the means to achieve the end. Especially ironic is that the former cannot resist the Mary Astor like Julie while the latter sleeps with any woman (when he is not beating someone up). Fans of the ultra hard boiled detective tale will want to follow the case files of this Agency.
Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars the birth of a new series is a success!, Nov. 4 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dynamite Road (Hardcover)
This is ellen in Atlanta - When I learned that Klavan would be starting a series featuring a private investigating firm, I started to worry - I stopped worrying when at the 1st sitting of reading Dynamite Road, I was over 125 pages in! It is wonderful and is gritty, exciting, and the characters are of the old school of PI's and a great start to a wonderful series - long live the Weiss Investigative Firm!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful in its Simplicity, Dec 19 2003
By 
Hinton W. Dillard (Atlanta, Ga United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dynamite Road (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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Dynamite Road
Dynamite Road by Andrew Klavan (Hardcover - Nov. 15 2003)
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