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Fast Friends: Iris Thorne Mysteries Paperback – February 6, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Earthquakes and their aftershocks fill the background of this carefully crafted Los Angeles-based mystery in which the protagonists try to cope with the seismic faults riddling their emotional terrain. Investment advisor Iris Thorne, last seen in Slow Squeeze (1994), built her success on intelligence and relentless ambition, but her chic appearance and rapid-fire wit cover a past that still disturbs her. At the age of 14, during the 1971 San Fernando quake, she witnessed a murder and its subsequent coverup. Some of those involved-the wealthy and dysfunctional land-owning DeLacey family; her own continually bickering parents; two corrupt and brutal policemen-come together 25 years later, following another quake. The present turmoil is organized around a bitter political battle in which Iris's eyewitness account of those earlier events could make a decisive difference. Iris also has strong evidence to suggest that Bill DeLacey, now L.A.'s biggest slumlord, has murdered his wife. A deftly characterized supporting cast of aging hippies, smarmy businessmen and an ex-lover gives texture to this tightly knit, unpredictable tale. With her bold moral compass, her appealing in-your-face attitude and unsettled romantic life, Iris is a compelling heroine.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Back in the days of the great earthquake of 1971, more than Los Angeles was falling apart. After somebody killed crusty landowner Gabriel Gaytan with hammer and pickax, Gabe's cousin Humberto de la Garza, the police suspect, died in police custody, leaving Gabe's weak-minded daughter Dolly, already under the thumb of her slumlord husband Bill DeLacey, to inherit his ranch. Now the earth is trembling again, and this time the DeLacey family fortunes are too. Addled Dolly is dead, an alleged suicide, right after finding a will in Bill's favor she doesn't remember writing, and making a desperate phone call to Iris Thorne, the daughter of onetime DeLacey handyman Les Thorne, for help. So Iris, who ought to be looking at great days ahead--a promised promotion in her financial counseling firm, a couple of interesting new men in her life--ends up peering down the well of her own past, trying to get in touch with Bill's wayward daughter Paula in time for the funeral and wondering which of the two candidates for the city council--Bill's son Thomas, one of those interesting new men, or incumbent Gil Alvarez, the cop turned lawyer who covered up Humberto's fatal beating--has more to hide. In fact, Pugh's real achievement here is making every single person Iris is attached to look suspicious and guilty. Slower, deeper, and altogether richer than Iris's breezy first two adventures (Slow Squeeze, 1994, etc.). Who says you can't go home again? -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Arroyo Bridge Books (February 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984784675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984784677
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,865,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
In her debut novel, Cold Call, Dianne Pugh introduced us to Iris Thorne, a securities dealer cum private detective whose fierce ambition was tempered by a deeply-rooted sense of right and wrong, especially when it concerned friends who had been dealt dirty. In Fast Friends, Ms. Thorne once again feels compelled to right past wrongs, this time digging through the detritus of cloudy memories about an old murder even as Los Angeles picks through the rubble of a major earthquake. While classified a mystery, this novel is several giant steps above the typical entry in this genre. As always, Pugh takes her time helping us to know her characters intimately rather than proceeding at breakneck speed just to move the plot along, and this draws us so deeply into the world she creates that we often find ourselves holding our breath as various perils threaten the people we've come to know as friends. The key characteristic that distinguishes Fast Friends from more traditional mysteries is that the plot is probably the least important element of the book, taking a back seat to the author's keen insights into the human psyche and her extraordinary facility with the English language. Pugh does for words what Wolfgang Puck does for food: make the familiar suddenly novel with a few deft twists and an endlessly creative expressive style that is a constant delight. Her dialogue is so lifelike you can almost hear the characters whispering in your ear, and many of her descriptive narratives demand to be read again just for the fun of it. Pugh has also claimed Los Angeles as her own literary territory, providing a kind of Chinatown-esque evocation of a city whose history is not as deeply buried beneath its contemporary facade as we might think.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. White on May 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Having grown up in East LA the daughter of a handyman, Iris Thorne has worked with dogged determination and ruthless intensity to rise to the position of senior investment counselor at the brokerage firm of McKinney Alitzer in downtown Los Angeles. She's come a long way from her blue-collar past and doesn't think much about it anymore. Until the Northridge earthquake hits and reminds Iris of the earthquake that occurred back when she was 14 years old. The quake, combined with a strange, urgent phone message from Dolly DeLacey, the mother of her childhood best friend, dredges up memories Iris had thought long since buried.

Back in 1971 the man who owned the land where Iris and her family lived was murdered. It was thought that a cousin committed the crime, but that was based almost exclusively on the testimony of the dead man's son-in-law, Bill DeLacey. During the apprehension of the suspected killer the police got a little overzealous and beat the man, a Mexican immigrant, so severely he ended up dying. Iris secretly witnessed the beating, but when she told her mother about it her mother instructed Iris never to speak of it again. And for twenty-three years, she didn't.

But when Iris learns Dolly has allegedly committed suicide, red flags go up in her mind considering the message Dolly left consisted of a rambling, disjointed account of finding a forged will and claims her husband, Bill, was out to kill her. The problem is Dolly was known to suffer from mental illness, had even spent time in a psychiatric facility at one point because of it, and no one is questioning that she had finally went off the deep end for good and killed herself. No one but Iris.
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By Lauraleo on March 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I just finished my first Dianne Pugh novel, Fast Friends - loved it! We were even driving through LA on the I-5 as I was finishing the last chapters. She has a nice relaxed yet economic writing style and it was a great story, not the first in the series but this book dealt with the characters' past so it was a good background - I also like other place-based authors, such as Walter Mosely for LA, Marcia Muller for SF. In this book I can just picture the neighborhoods and people of East LA, an authentic voice from Dianne's own experiences there. Anyway, great fun, looking forward to the next one!
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By Kat on January 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the 3rd book in the Emley series that I have read and I loved this one the best! Dianne has a great way of giving detail and description to characters and events that enable you to really know and understand everything as if you were right there in the story. I felt that the twist and turns were enticing and she kept the pace of the book progressing steadily. I enjoyed how she answered all of the questions and didn't rush through to an inevitable ending as many books do. I thoroughly enjoyed this read!
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