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Crashed (Junior Bender #1) (Junior Bender Mystery) Paperback – April 23, 2013


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Crashed (Junior Bender #1) (Junior Bender Mystery) + Little Elvises (Junior Bender #2) (Junior Bender Mystery) + The Fame Thief (Junior Bender #3) (Junior Bender Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Series: Junior Bender Mystery
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; Reprint edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616952768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616952761
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Hallinan, author of the Simeon Grist and Poke Rafferty series, introduces a new hero: Junior Bender, a career crook (burglar, to be precise) who, after the reasonably successful conclusion of an especially danger-fraught job, is blackmailed by a disreputable cop into helping one of Los Angeles’ most notorious crime bosses with a little problem. It seems she’s trying to take her family’s operations legit, and she needs a quick cash infusion, so she’s found a once-beloved child star, Thistle Downing, and enticed her into performing in a trilogy of hard-core pornographic movies. But someone’s trying to sabotage the films, and she wants Bender to find out who. If you read this book without a smile on your face, you’re not reading it right. Bender, who narrates the story in the first-person, is a charming and immensely likable guy, the master of the wisecrack. Sure, he’s a crook, but he never steals from people who can’t afford it, and he’s got a moral center that’s stronger than that of most of the people around him. The story is well designed and well told (Hallinan doesn’t over-rely on out-of-left-field plot twists), and the dialogue sparkles. In a genre perhaps slightly overstuffed with crook-heroes, the book is like a breath of fresh air. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Praise for Crashed

"If you're looking for a mystery with a fresh new hero then you'll want to run right out and get this book. It's just fabulous. If you have a plane to take, then this is the book to grab."
—NPR's Morning Edition

"Loved loved loved Crashed, Tim Hallinan's first Junior Bender mystery. Great narrative voice, complex plot, 3-D characters. Hallinan’s deft comic tone and colorful characters  have earned him comparisons to Donald Westlake and Carl Hiassen. Check it out now." 
—Nancy Pearl

"If Carl Hiaasen and Donald Westlake had a literary love child, he would be Timothy Hallinan. The Edgar nominee's laugh-out-loud new crime series featuring Hollywood burglar-turned-private eye Junior Bender has breakout written all over it... A must-read."
—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author of One Was a Soldier

"Junior Bender is today’s Los Angeles as Raymond Chandler might have written it. Tim [Hallinan] is a master at tossing out the kind of hard-boiled lines that I wish I thought of first."
—Bruce DeSilva, Macavity & Edgar Award-winning author of Rogue Island

"Timothy Hallinan’s affable antihero, an accomplished thief but inept sleuth named Junior Bender, makes a terrific first impression in Crashed.... Bender’s quick wit and smart mouth make him a boon companion on this oddball adventure."
New York Times


"A fresh turn on Raymond Chandler... In Crashed, Hallinan's fabulously convoluted, wise-guy detective potboiler featuring Bender, the California author's voice — intelligent, sarcastic, profane but never coarse, unfailingly honest — is like a fast ride over a potholed road in a vintage Cadillac."
—San Antonio Express-News

“This is Hallinan at the top of his game. It's laugh-out-loud funny without ever losing any of its mystery. It’s a whole new style and I love it. Junior Bender—a crook with a heart of gold—is one of Hallinan's most appealing heroes, rich with invention, and brimming with classic wit. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”
—Shadoe Stevens, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

"The story is well designed and well told, and the dialogue sparkles. In a genre perhaps slightly overstuffed with crook-heroes, the book is like a breath of fresh air."
Booklist

"This is one of those books you long for, wait for, and find once or twice a year"
—Beth Kanell, proprietor of Kingdom Books, Vermont

"This fast-paced first in a series is great fun."
—Stop You're Killing Me (blog)

“Timothy Hallinan does everything a writer should do whose goal is to keep a reader entertained from the first sentence to the last.”
—Tzer Island (blog)

"Hallinan builds a believable plot, filled with both humor and pathos."
—Reviewing the Evidence (blog)

“The writing is intelligent, relaxed, and fun to read. Crashed is a pleasurable outing, without the personal risk, to the criminal underbelly of Los Angeles, where moral ambiguity fills the air.”
—Read Me Deadly (blog)

"This detective potboiler with its oddball characters will keep you chuckling."
—The Martha's Vineyard Times

“If you're in the mood for a mystery that's just plain fun, this is the one for you... Timothy Hallinan knows how to write a smart aleck main character who has his own set of morals and a heart of gold.”
—Kittling Books (blog)

Praise for Junior Bender


"Timothy Hallinan's The Fame Thief has everything I've come to expect in a Hallinan novel: indelible, complex characters, fantastic plot, and moments of hold-your-breath suspense."
—Charlaine Harris, author of the New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series

"Could not stop laughing.  Tim Hallinan is sharp as a blade, has a wicked eye for human nature and keeps the reader guessing and rooting for Junior Bender all the way."
—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

"Junior Bender is bound to be the topic of conversation amongst book lovers and crime fiction fans for a long, long time."
—Robert Carraher, Seattle Post-Intelligencer 

"Hugely,splendidly entertaining... Full of delightful characters, and dialogue that provides at least one good laugh on every page, the book is so hard to put down you’ll swear it’s been glued to your hands."
Booklist, STARRED Review (Little Elvises)

More About the Author

2011 Edgar Nominee Timothy Hallinan has written ten published novels, all thrillers, all critically praised.

In the 1990s he wrote six mysteries featuring the erudite private eye Simeon Grist, beginning with "The Four Last Things," which made several Ten Best lists, including that of The Drood Review. The other books in the series were widely and well reviewed, and several of them were optioned for motion pictures. The series is now regarded as a cult favorite.

In 2007, the first of his Poke Rafferty Bangkok thrillers, "A Nail Through the Heart", was published to unanimously enthusiastic reviews. "Hallinan scores big-time," said Kirkus Reviews, which went on to call the book "dark, often funny, and ultimately enthralling." "Nail" was a Booksense Pick of the Month and was named one of the top mysteries of the year by The Japan Times and several major online review sites.

Rafferty's Bangkok adventures continued with "The Fourth Watcher" (2008) and "Breathing Water" (2009), both of which also appeared on "year's best" lists. New York Times bestselling author John Lescroart said about the 2010 book, "The Queen of Patpong," "You won't read a better thriller this year," and Ken Bruen said, "John Burdett writes about Bangkok. Tim Hallinan is Bangkok. I adore this book."

Hallinan has written full-time since 2006. Since 1982 he has divided his time between Los Angeles and Southeast Asia, the setting for his Poke Rafferty novels.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By CJ West on November 24, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Junior Bender is a guy you could easily hate. He's an accomplished burglar that can beat any security system human, canine, or electronic. He's so good he only works occasionally, hitting high value targets and reading--of all things--the rest of the time. One of the finer achievements in this book is that you cannot help but root for Junior in spite of who he is. He's an intriguing character you will want to follow.

Thistle Downing is a down and out television star, hooked on drugs and destitute despite earning over one hundred million dollars in her career. Thistle is portrayed so vividly your heart will break for her fall from on high. And so it goes with Trey an unlikely mob boss and a sizeable cast of characters all deeply flawed yet relatable.

The story is filled with ominous threats and horribly amoral characters and yet maintains surprising levity. The plot turns are fresh and while unexpected they fit the story so well you couldn't imagine it working out any other way. I strongly recommend Crashed and Hallinan's Poke Rafferty thrillers. You won't be disappointed.

CJ West
The End of Marking Time
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Kaser on November 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the start of a brand new series, and it's off to a bang-up great start. It's a smart, funny and suspenseful mystery with a cast of characters you can't take you eyes off of.

Junior Bender's a thief. Maybe not your most up-standing community member, but definitely the kind of person you'd want to have on your side when the chips were down. And for Thistle Downing, there are a LOT of chips down. Fortunately for her, Junior has been appointed her guardian angel by the very bad guys that are trying to exploit her. Junior has to try to get himself out of a VERY tight spot and save Thistle's life (in more ways than one), and try to save his relationship with his daughter at the same time. It's hell when you still love your ex-wife, and she's about ready to scrape you off the bottom of the earth's sole.

Mr. Hallinan has hit a home run with this one. A little bit Travis McGee, a little bit "To Catch A Thief," a little bit Sam Spade, and WHOLE lot of fun! I had a hard time getting any work done until I finished it, and I can't wait for the next volume to appear. Come on, can't you write any FASTER???
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Pat Browning on November 21, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Timothy Hallinan's gift as a crime writer is that he finds some redeeming feature in almost every character he puts into a novel. As a reader it makes me feel comfortable enough to like even the villains.

Junior Bender, the protagonist of CRASHED, is hardly a villain, but he is a crook - a crook's crook, to be exact. Want somebody to climb a wall, get into a villa that's guarded six ways from Sunday and steal a priceless painting? Call Junior Bender.

We meet Bender as he takes a painting off a wall and spots the hairline crack of a safe behind the painting. Janice, his contact, has told him everything about the estate except the wall safe. How can he resist? He opens the safe and grabs a pocketful of diamonds.

What happens next would be right at home in an old Marx Brothers movie. A swarm of rottweilers break out of the back yard, race up the stairs and launch themselves against the bedroom door. Junior grabs the only weapon handy - a couple of tubes of amyl nitrate - and throws it at their snouts.

It gives them a temporary "rush" and Bender makes a dash for the stairs. The front door might as well be in Timbuktu. Desperate, with the dogs now energized and in hot pursuit, he grabs a chandelier and gives it a mighty swing hoping to launch himself through the door's stained glass window. The chandelier pulls loose from the ceiling and piles up on the floor, scattering dogs just long enough for Bender to run through the front door and slam it shut.

Cut and scratched but otherwise alive and well, Bender gets behind the wheel of his van and is ambushed by a corrupt cop named Hacker. It's worse than a bust. It's a setup.

Hacker delivers Bender to a man named Wattles -- "a guy who had looked for years like he would die in minutes.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Manuele on November 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like the Junior Bender books, I like them a lot. There may be no one writing faster dialogue today than Timothy Halinan. But I think there's a problem with the main character Junior Bender - he's too nice a guy to carry the role. I think Elmore Leonard is a good reference here. The difference between good and bad in Leonard is a matter of degree, not category and that accounts for the depth of his books - all of the 'bad' guys have good qualities and the good guys aren't all that good. There is darkness to everyone in Leonard's world. There is no darkness in Bender's character and, as a result, he's not that convincing. No one who considers The Recognitions to be their 'touchstone' book risks long years in prison to make a few bucks unless there's some back story to explain it; no one who has as positive and touching a relationship with a teenage daughter as Bender does in Little Elvises, also kills people. It just doesn't happen that way.

I was going to give them 4 stars because of the qualification described above but I feel bad about that - the bottom line is that these books are great reads, so I'm going for 5 stars.
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