Thursday, May 2, 2024

City of Lies

A Gripping Tale of Identity, Crime, and Survival… Claire Preston, a script reader for a Hollywood movie studio, has recently lost her mother. Discovering she was adopted as a baby, she goes on a perilous quest for her true identity.

 Assisted by her mentor, the seasoned private investigator, Jake Sterling, Claire delves deeper into her past, only to unearth a labyrinth of secrets more daunting than she ever envisioned. Soon, she finds herself in the crosshairs of a ruthless serial killer—an ex-Nazi fugitive evading justice for decades.

 As Claire confronts her heritage, grapples with danger, and races against time to evade the clutches of a deadly predator, she finds herself wondering: Is uncovering the truth in a city of lies even possible?

 Experience the chilling twists and turns of a tale where identity, mystery, and survival converge in the heart of 1968 Los Angeles.

my review...

This is a good story full of humor, asides, and a clear enjoyable plot. It's a story of wanting to know where you came from, a story of abduction, and a story with diabolical undertones.

I have not read all of January Bain's books but compared to those I have read, this one's a little different. It's that neat old P.I. type of character I like blended with a little of a sultry atmosphere. It has the feeling of a black noir mystery. Sam Snead may not be a character, but Jake Sterling does a pretty good imitation. Even though the dialog is in the present, Bain has made it keep the fun feel of an old-fashioned mystery set right in the middle of today's world.

There's something January Bain has done, and it is a tricky thing for a writer, so I want to give it special mention. There are three or four mysteries floating throughout this story and somehow every piece of the story is clear. I really enjoyed reading a well-written story with many facets and yet each one easy to follow. 100% worth my time.

read an excerpt...

I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be.

~Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep

Hollywood, October 1968

“Nice family.” The young woman who had introduced herself as Claire Preston crossed her shapely legs and nodded at the prominently displayed photo on his desk.

“I like to think so,” Jake Sterling said, his tone noncommittal. His new client was a looker while he was Mr. Average, average height, average looks, only things not average were his dogged search for the truth and his ability to take a hit, bullet or otherwise. But for once he wished he hadn’t bothered to set out the picture of a smiling woman and her two-point-three kids.

“I hope you’re better at being a private eye than you are at finding out that your wife cheats on you, with any man willing to shell out a dollar ninety-five at the five and dime.” She raised a sardonic eyebrow before shifting her weight to her other hip. And very trim hips they were. But apparently her brain was even sharper. He had bought the photograph from Woolworths for exactly a buck ninety-five.

“The truth will set you free, John 8:32,” Bishop squawked twice, adding a little sidestep on the wooden dowel for emphasis, preening with self-importance. His shimmery green feathers caught the shafts of light drifting through the venetian blinds, adding an unholy glow.

“Optimistic, isn’t he?” His possible new client took out a pack of Salems and nudged one out from its snug location with long slender fingers, the tips varnished to a high-gloss red. It made him want to slip into a matching convertible, turn up the music on the rebel song, “I Fought the Law” by the Bobby Fuller Four, and hand the redhead a mickey of lemon gin.

He couldn’t hold back the chuckle this time, though it escaped sounding more like a strangled snort. She had him dead to rights. He picked up his lighter, leaned forward in tandem with her, and lit the tip of her cigarette. She laid cool fingers against his hand to keep the light steady.

“Bishop has an uncanny way of pointing out my shortcoming. Just like my father intended, no doubt.”

“Rather conflicts with the motto on your business card.  Nothing but the truth.” She inhaled, filling admirable lungs, and blew out such a perfect concentric smoke ring he had to stop himself from applauding.

He picked up the offending item from the scarred top of the old mahogany desktop he was proud to be sitting behind. His father had spent thirty years slaving over it selling insurance, week in and week out. He slipped the eight by ten photo in the top drawer, face down. “Clients like a family man. Care for a drink, Miss Preston?”

She shrugged shapely pale shoulders but didn’t turn him down. “Claire, please. It’s five p.m. somewhere, if that matters. Who’s the parrot named after?”

He reached into his bottom drawer and drew out the mickey of Jim Beam and two tumblers. Filled both with three fingers worth, half emptying the bottle, then handed one across the desk. Their fingers brushed again as she took it from him. “From a quote. It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.”

“Good thing I’m a redhead. Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely. You as big a fan as your father?”

“It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.”

about January Bain... 

January Bain firmly believes that stories unite us, that good stories help us to discover the commonality of the human experience by supporting values, empathy and understanding. January writes with her heart, mind, and soul, hoping that her novels will touch your life, giving you moments of freedom as you fly with her to other worlds.

The award-winning author has had the pleasure of select novels being turned into games, while her work is also available in different languages.

January and her husband live in rural Canada on peaceful acreage where a variety of wildlife comes to visit regularly and expects to be fed and paid attention to.


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  1. Wow, I'm so thrilled to be here and to read your perfect review!!! It was exactly what I was going for in the story and you nailed it, your review said it all so exactly! I can't thank you enough!!! Hugs, January

    1. As I'm sure you know, I wish you all the best with this one too. Just keep writing and writing!

    2. Thank you, Kathy, kind of you to say!

  2. The review and excerpt sound really good. I like the cover art.

  3. This sounds like an interesting book.


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