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Ok, I admit, I like the Junior Bender series. Not deep by any means, and, sometimes I've wondered why I've stuck with the series and the bottom line is I like Hallinan's writing style along with Junior himself.
I like the way the author pulls out characters from 'Old Hollywood'. They way the Hollywood moguls used to be all powerful. The way they could be ruthless in getting and keeping what they wanted. And, how Junior gets caught up in all these different situations where somebody is wanting to do something to somebody else and Junior can help. And, they can be ruthless in soliciting his help.
Due to the catchy writing style the books can almost seem like comedic thrillers but I do enjoy them and I liked this one as good as any of them.
In this one Junior is solicited to steal a painting from a ruthless Hollywood mogul by the mogul himself. Junior smells a rat but is it a double cross or just what is it? It's a fun one and I went through it quickly.
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
No. Even though I really enjoy Tim Hallinan's writing, the Poke Rafferty books are more enjoyable, and IMHO they are much more consistent with the writer's Rule #1: write about what you know. Tim's humor is intact: the jokes come fast and furious. However, Junior Bender is a much less enjoyable protagonist than Poke, and the stories of his burglaries are exactly what you might think: not so much fun. Junior tries to rationalize what he is doing (stealing from the rich and wicked...) but we never identify with these ruminations. I understand Tim's need to avoid getting trapped into writing the same books over and over, but this series is never going to match the first one.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Junior is clearly not my favorite, and there aren't enough well-drawn characters to get attached to one of them. The fact that he has terrific burglary skills? Is that something we are supposed to relish? The fact that he usually rips off horribly rich and, therefore, evil guys does not mitigate the thefts. It's just a bad premise. I have only read two of these, and started a third, but I know what I like.
What about Peter Berkrot’s performance did you like?
Peter is a great narrator. His voice is marvelous, richly textured and pleasant to listen to. A tiny nit to pick is his breathiness, which he overuses. But he sells the jokes very well.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
Any additional comments?
Do yourself a favor and read the Poke Rafferty books. There is some rough stuff, but here Tim is genuinely writing about what he knows. He lives in Southeast Asia for six months of each year, and he knows Thailand as an expert does. His depiction of women is great. The best book, I feel, is almost entirely about Rose, his wife. The title is The Queen of Patpong. This book truly deserves to become a movie, which is partly why the moneymen of H'wood will never do it. They are constantly scraping the bottom of the barrel, a segment of the population that Tim is most assuredly not writing for. The whole book is so vivid, the character of Rose is so real that you know her almost like a friend, whom you would love to spend time with. (I have split three infinitives here, for those of you grammar fairies who may be counting.) A unique and fantastic work of art and the writer's many talents.