Monday, May 23, 2011

“Running Cold” by Harry Shannon


The suspense is so taut that if you plucked it, dogs would howl. In “Running Cold” you can “feel” Mick teetering on that edge, the anger and violence bubbling just over the top of the cauldron, and god save L.A if he goes over.In the more than capable hands of author Harry Shannon, Mick Callahan has become an icon.  I just love when an author masters his craft and character, and Harry Shannon must have been taking Zen lessons when he wrote Running Cold.

Awhile back I reviewed  Memorial Day”, the first Mick Callahan novel, just re-released in the book containing the first three novels in the series, “The Mick Callahan Novelsso if you haven’t read the review, then do so for Mick’s background. Mick’s come a long way from the classic burn out, newly sober hardboiled detective/psychologist. He has a practice in L.A.,he has a swimming pool in his back yard, his future looks bright as he is on the verge of regaining his stardom and his life. But, his deep seated need to find love eludes him as his relationship with Darlene Hernandez, LAPD Detective is on the rocks. No amount of financial or celebrity security can fill this need in Callahan, and this makes him feel helpless. And when Callahan feels helplessMick C he tends to break things.

The story opens in Las Vegas, where a daring raid is perpetrated on a casino by a team of terrorists…maybe. As the private security force, Blackwatch, along with the Vegas PD move in to foil the terrorists, using the the crowd of tourists and the worn hookers sporting fraudulent breast, as cover a package is passed by one of the terrorists right before he blows himself up. Mean while, in L.A. Mick has an appointment with a pro bono client, Calvin McCann – a man with a gambling problem whose luck is Running Cold as well as a tendency to stay high on pot when he can’t stay high on winning. He comes to Callahan who despite a tough exterior has a soft heart. He’s in deep with a shady bookie who doesn’t take defaulters to court.  Callahan is in the mood for violence if it comes his way, and is apt to go looking for it, - and a drink - when he is feeling lost in love. Callahan, after getting Calvin to agree to do service as part of his AA commitment, approaches the bookie and his thug, Quinn and agrees to pay off Calvin’s debt. In the process he is rescued by a young waitress.

Back in Vegas, Calvin’s son, Wes, a hard as nails ex paratrooper has lost his own gambling stake in an effort to win the money for his dad’s debt. He ends up sleeping at the train station and stinking of booze and back alley’s waiting for the train to take him back to L.A.. He is recognized by an old high school girl friend, who he can’t really remember in his hung over condition, but she comes on to him anyhow. She goes out side for a last cigarette before boarding her own train and leaves Wes to guard her suit case. When she doesn’t return before Wes’s train, he take the suit case with him. He’s got her email address and figures it will be a good excuse to meet up with her. Wes gets home and has to tell his dad that he lost their stake, but Calvin tells him not to worry, Mick is going to square things for him. Wes goes off to stash the suit case and find the girl. While he is gone, Calvin is murdered viscously. Mick stumbles on the crime scene just as the police arrive, and Wes drives by just in time to see Callahan there. He blames Callahan for sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong.

Mick is now primed with anger over his broken heart and retribution for the bookie for seemingly backing out on their deal, but it doesn’t make sense that a bookie would kill a guy over a few thousand dollars. Strung tighter than a cross bow, Mick starts his own investigation, and pity anyone that gets in his way. mean while, Wes does the same and these to dangerous men are aimed right for each other. Soon, there are more suspects and motives than meets the eye. Throw in crooked cops and nefarious computer hackers and you’ve got a top drawer murder mystery fuel by the anger and need for revenge of two deadly individuals in Mick and Wes. Somebody is going to get hurt. Probably a lot of somebodies.

Harry Shannon

Harry Shannon just gets better and better as more facets of his hero, Mick Callahan are revealed. This series is bound to go down next to the best in the genre.

The Dirty Lowdown

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a very suspenseful read. Thanks for the review. Donna