Book 3, in the Jonah Geller Mystery
This is a series that is getting better has it moves along. I admit not having read it in sequel but having done so did not remove any of my enjoyment. Each plot is rooted from real events that made the headlines at one time or another. I am a huge fan of mystery series and the Jonah Geller series is high on my preferred list.
“Boston Cream” takes Jonah to Boston where he investigates the disappearance of David Fine, a young surgeon and a transplant specialist. Hired by the man’s father he sets off with his business partner Jenn Raudsepp, who knows the city well. They follow a twisted trail that involves panoply of individuals from the doctor’s boss, members of the mob, a rabbi, a lawyer and a grocer who had also vanished. Since the local authorities are baffled and haven’t made any progress into the missing cases, Jonah takes the lead and with a thorough investigation he uncovers that the disappearances are directly linked to an organ harvesting ring led by Irish mobsters. As the story unfolds Dante Ryan (a recurring character) joins in and they are quickly thrown into a world of organized crime ….where mayhem is sure to break out…..and it does so in an exciting and captivating cat and mouse game….
This is a darker book that the previous in the series and far more violent in many aspects. The plotting is intriguing and weaves a tight and taunting story. The pacing is steady, action packed and non-stopped till the finale. The characters are solid, very good and have a good ear for dialogue. This 3rd book has all the attributes I expected from this genre: the villains are scums, the police are mean and incompetent and a PI from out of town to the rescue….what is not to like….
This is a series on the roll……
The first two novels in this series featuring Jonah Geller, a Jewish PI from Toronto, were award winners. Although I haven't read them, I can see why after finishing the present volume.
The plot is about an illegal organ transplanting operation in Boston. Jonah is retained by the father of David Fine, an outstanding surgical resident to the top transplant surgeon at Sinai Hospital in Beantown. It seems he hasn't been heard from, and the father asks Jonah to try to locate him and find out why. Jonah and his partner Jenn fly to the East Coast and start the investigation, which leads them to numerous discoveries, including the various participants in the criminal scheme in which organs are harvested from donors to needy people without the benefit of following sanctioned procedures.
'Boston Cream' has all the elements of good crime fiction: a solid investigation, action-packed scenes, a well-structured plot and most of all, an interesting protagonist. Readers of the Jewish faith (and perhaps others) certainly can enjoy some of the more amusing side comments, although Jonah is not a practicing member of the faith, but shows just enough knowledge and feeling to obviously have grown up with that background and appreciated the various nuances of speech, humor and tradition. I don't know how the present volume compares to the previous entries in the series, so I suppose I will just have to go back and find out.
Boston Cream is Howard Shrier's third novel featuring PI Jonah Geller, but a first read of this Arthur Ellis award winning Canadian author for me. It definitely won't be the last.
Geller is just back to work, still feeling the effects of a severe concussion, earned on his last case. If Ron Fine wasn't a family friend, he would have turned him down. Ron hasn't heard from his son in almost two weeks and it's unlike David to not be in touch with his family or miss work - he's a highly skilled surgeon at a Boston hospital. Ron doesn't think the cops in Boston are looking very hard for David and wants his own man on the job. Geller reluctantly agrees, but takes along partner Jenn Raudsepp for help.
Geller and Raudsepp are good, very good. They quickly find clues and connections the cops have missed. But...the bad guys have their sights on Geller and Raudsepp as well. Jenn is kidnapped and Geller is forced to call in another favour from Canada...former hit man Dante Ryan....
I am so glad to have discovered Shrier. Geller is a richly different character - his sense of right and wrong is clearly defined and the path to justice very clear, although it may not always be on the right side of the law. I didn't get to know Jenn as well as I would have liked to in this book, but Geller and Ryan are fiercely loyal and protective of her. I'll have to go back and read the first two in this series Buffalo Jump and High Chicago to get the back story. I am intrigued by Dante Ryan - a hit man who wants to put that part of his life behind him, but won't let his friends down.
I loved the 'local' setting - reading of streets and places in Toronto and imagining Geller walking down them. Although Shrier takes Geller over the border in Boston Cream, the Canadian references are very fun and had me laughing to myself. When Geller takes out two Boston bad guys...
"What does McCudden say"
"He ain't talking yet. Still doped up. Took two pretty good shots."
"From a Canadian."
The plotting in Boston Cream is excellent, taking a very real crime (I don't want to giveaway the plot) and weaving a tight, taut story around it. The pacing is good, with the final chapters being a run for the money - an action packed, non stop finale.
"I am not a violent man. I keep telling myself that. I think of myself as a good man at heart, who keeps getting caught up in deeds committed by men who really are violent. So I tell myself, if it only happens when I go to the States, where the stakes seem high and guns abound, then there's a simple solution. Hide my passport and keep my peace-loving self at home. Because that is what non-violent men do."
Uh-huh - I'll be waiting to see what case Geller takes on next.....and where.....