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The Four Last Things (Simeon Grist #1) (Simeon Grist Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Timothy Hallinan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.99

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Book Description

Fans of Robert B. Parker's Spenser books should try this one. Hallinan, a 2011 Best Novel Edgar finalist, began his six-book Simeon Grist series with this white-knuckle mystery. Simeon Grist knows L.A. inside and out--the sex for sale, the chic seductions, every rip-off from City Hall to Venice. So when he's hired by a Hollywood recording company to shadow one Sally Oldfield, suspected of embezzlement, Grist discovers she's entangled in The Church of the Eternal Moment--a million-dollar religious scam built around a 12-year-old channeler and the voice of a man who has been dead for a millennium. When Sally turns up dead, Simeon knows he's become the next target of a very flesh-and-blood entity waiting in the back alleys of sin and salvation to give him a brutal look at the four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell--revelations he could definitely live without...

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From Publishers Weekly:

"Simeon Grist, former professor of English at UCLA and fledgling L.A. private eye, makes his debut in this clever mystery. To propel his plot, Hallinan adroitly depicts a new religion with avaricious leaders, New Age channeling and an overlay of California kookiness. Hired by the head of security of Monument Records to follow employee Sally Oldfield, suspected of selling information to competitors, Grist develops a liking for the woman. Then she is brutally murdered, and Grist is shocked to find that an impostor assigned him to the case. Investigating on his own, he follows leads to the Church of the Eternal Moment, with its child oracle Angel Ellspeth, her oh-so-smooth personal physician Dick Merryman and its crew of Listeners to whom the faithful confess all. As Grist searches for clues, aided by a former girlfriend, Eleanor Chan, now writing for the Los Angeles Times, he is threatened, beaten and involved in another murder. Televangelism, brainwashing, research into the early 19th-century diaspora of new American religions and a most unusual ally lead Grist to the denouement of this very satisfying mystery."
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

“Terrific, well-crafted, thoroughly satisfying . . . updates Raymond Chandler's vision of life in Los Angeles through Grist's sardonic, often hilarious observations . . . leaves one looking forward to Hallinan's future endeavors.” (Los Angeles Herald-Tribune)

“It's rare to find a first novel in the mystery genre that boasts a smoothly plotted story, crisp dialogue, and excellent characterizations . . . This exciting tale accomplishes all three . . . The book never falters, sustaining suspense and interest throughout . . . a sure winner.” (Booklist)

Hallinan has a genuine ability to write effective prose, engaging repartee, sharp and witty characterizations . . . this laudable first effort could become a notable series.” (The Washington Post Book World)

“Wonderful . . . you gotta love a novel that starts with the hard-drinking private eye sighing about the dame he's been following.” (West Coast Review of Books)

“Hallinan neatly maximizes his gift for offbear characters and clever pacing . . . Simeon Grist, the sleuth he created, is in a class by himself.” (Inside Books)


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Simeon Grist, former professor of English at UCLA and fledgling L.A. private eye, makes his debut in this clever mystery. To propel his plot, Hallinan adroitly depicts a new religion with avaricious leaders, New Age channeling and an overlay of California kookiness. Hired by the head of security of Monument Records to follow employee Sally Oldfield, suspected of selling information to competitors, Grist develops a liking for the woman. Then she is brutally murdered, and Grist is shocked to find that an impostor assigned him to the case. Investigating on his own, he follows leads to the Church of the Eternal Moment, with its child oracle Angel Ellspeth, her oh-so-smooth personal physician Dick Merryman and its crew of Listeners to whom the faithful confess all. As Grist searches for clues, aided by a former girlfriend, Eleanor Chan, now writing for the Los Angeles Times , he is threatened, beaten and involved in another murder. Televangelism, brainwashing, research into the early 19th-century diaspora of new American religions and a most unusual ally lead Grist to the denouement of this very satisfying mystery.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Soon after the alleged head of security for a record company hires Simeon Grist to watch Sally Oldfield, a nasty man kills her and then the so-called security head. Grist's investigation (he liked Sally from afar) leads to predictably questionable goings-on at the Church of the Eternal Moment. Hallinan delivers these somewhat muffled connections in mostly flat, charmless prose, so that Hollywood settings and Grist's quirks do little to relieve the boredom. Not recommended.-- REK
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 540 KB
  • Print Length: 488 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0453006507
  • Publisher: Hallinan Consulting; 1 edition (June 26, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003UHVTXW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,198 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great First Impression September 15, 2010
By Vena
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'll be the first to admit it; I was very, very skeptical when I bought THE FOUR LAST THINGS. Part of my skepticism had to do with the fact that this was billed as Mr Hallinan's first novel (I've come to find out that's not the case), but mostly because I'd just finished devouring all four Poke Rafferty novels and didn't think the Grist series would come close. I'd already decided the "early works" were not going to be nearly as good as the later ones. Oh, boy, I am so eating crow.

THE FOUR LAST THINGS is everything you could ask for in a suspense novel. Action, humor, and even philosophy, given the theme of this book. For the folks who don't know, this is actually the second in the Simeon series. Grab SKIN DEEP if you want to be properly introduced to Simeon Grist. If you'd rather start with THE FOUR LAST THINGS, it's all good. Mr Hallinan writes his novels in such a way that you never feel like you've missed a whole chunk of what's going on if you read his books out of sequence. He re-introduces tidbits from the previous novels and it does help keep the reader on point.

This book is an enjoyably quick read if you've got the time. Once you start you may very well find that you have to make time.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read October 16, 2010
By Cliff
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was the first to be published in the Simeon Grist series but the second written. So I read it after the real first, Skin Deep. It makes a great continuation to the character of Grist but also works well stand-alone.

Highly recommended as a fast read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a great story! May 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For awhile, this book seemed almost timeless -- the main character seemed so 1950's "hard-boiled" detective and a lot of the general descriptions seemed to be post WW-II Los Angeles. Only later is there mention of more recent (1970-1980) dates, which may have been unnecessary. The timelessness could have served well.

A church organization as the antagonist gave opportunity for discussions among the characters about the nature of religion. This was mostly not too heavy-handed (I only skipped forward once). I kept thinking that maybe there was supposed to be a parallel to Scientology.

The sadistic descriptions were held to a minimum and there weren't too many deaths, though there were lots of well-described fights. D. Smif was a great comic relief.

I really liked this book and look forward to another book by this author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very pleasant discovery! August 31, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'd seen mention of Mr. Hallinan's latest book, "The Queen of Patpong," in a e-mail from Amazon, and it sounded quite promising. Seeing that it was part of a series, I decided to look up the earlier books in the series, and was very disappointed that the publisher had chosen to set a $9.99 price for the e-book edition of the first book, "A Nail Through The Heart," which was originally published in 2007. I wrote to both the publisher and to Mr. Hallinan, expressing my extreme disappointment at that, and was pleased to receive a very nice response from Mr. Hallinan explaining what I already knew: the publisher sets the prices and the author has no control. But it never hurts to apply pressure. But in his reply to me, Mr. Hallinan also pointed out that his first two novels, "The Four Last Things" and "Everything But The Squeal" were available from Amazaon for $2.99 each. At such a good price, I thought it was worth trying.

I'm glad I did. A VERY fun read, well written, excellent characters, a terrific first novel. I look forward to reading many more (although, unfortunately, his later books will have to wait until the publisher sees reason and offers the e-book versions at a reasonable price...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book March 13, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I have read Tim Hallinan's later books (the Junior Bender series starting with Crashed). This series' hero (?) shares some of the Junior Bender's qualities but you don't get that potential spinning out of control feeling. Simeon Grist is competent, but untrained, smart but impulsive and always caring. Enjoyed this a lot and have purchased the next in the series.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty and clever August 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It was a double pleasure to encounter a book that (a) has no major editing flaws (b) creates a detective/story that is downright fun to read. Simeon Grist is a treasure. I look forward to his return.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining whodunit April 29, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hallinan is not only a good writer, but clever, who adds humor and interesting characters. Never run-of-the-mill characters or situations; plots are complex.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Grist April 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fantastic first novel!! Someone Grist is not your typical private eye but a very good one just the same. Wonderful novel. Looking forward to the next installment of Mr Grist!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars " Wouldn't recommend it.
It was just okay to me. Didn't have those moments when "I just can't put it down." Wouldn't recommend it.
Published 1 month ago by shah
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Loved this book! Timothy Hallinan did a great job of describing the characters and making me feel like I was a part of the adventure.
Published 8 months ago by Timmy
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but not as good as Junior Bender
I like Mr. Hallinan's books, having read all of his Junior Bender series. There are a lot of similarities between Simeon Grist and Junior: both operate in LA; both are detectives... Read more
Published 8 months ago by John G
4.0 out of 5 stars fun story, a bit too many funny phrases
Enjoyable read, but sometimes I felt like 'another one and I will stop reading'. A few of those joking comparissos is ok, too often and it is annoying. Read more
Published 11 months ago by C. Szoke
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite by Hallinan
This book is OK but not as great as the Poke Rafferty series. I only got halfway through it before I became bored.
Published 11 months ago by Michael J Maxwell
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Splendid
Great L.A. detective fiction. Tim Hallinan is a long overlooked writer who belongs among the four or five best in any genre.
Published 11 months ago by Don Aldridge
4.0 out of 5 stars Simeon triumphs over bogus believers
Simeon seems to rush in where angels fear to tread, but he manages to solve the case and bring down doom and destruction on the bad guys with a little help from Dexter Smif - a... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Carolyn J. Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Fast pace good action and humor interleaved with action. Simeon FIrst time I read this author's work and enjoyed him.
Published 13 months ago by Don Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather Fun
Simeon Grist is a Private Eye operating in the colourful world of California. He has a need to protect the vulnerable and a quick sharp wit that he uses at every opportunity. Read more
Published 15 months ago by nigel p bird
4.0 out of 5 stars very good read
great story- very good read - nice conflict resolution too- will read more of his stuff as soon as I can
Published 15 months ago by Rebecca M. Fullwood
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More About the Author

Edgar, Shamus, Macavity and Lefty nominee Timothy Hallinan has written sixteen published novels, all thrillers and mysteries, all critically praised. He currently writes two series, one set in Los Angeles and the other in Bangkok.

His Junior Bender mysteries trace the adventures of a burglar who moonlights as a private eye for crooks. In its first eighteen months, the series has been nominated for both the Lefty and the Shamus for best mystery. The titles to date are "Crashed," "Little Elvises," "The Fame Thief," and "Herbie's Game."

In 2007, the first of his Edgar-nominated Poke Rafferty Bangkok thrillers, "A Nail Through the Heart", was published. "Hallinan scores big-time," said Kirkus Reviews, which went on to call the book "dark, often funny, and ultimately enthralling." "Nail" was named one of the top mysteries of the year by The Japan Times.

Rafferty's Bangkok adventures have continued with "The Fourth Watcher," "Breathing Water," "The Queen of Patpong," "The Fear Artist," and "For the Dead." "Queen" was a Best Novel Edgar nominee in 2011. Coming in 2015 is "The Hot Countries."

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 well reviewed, and several of them were optioned for motion pictures. The series is now regarded as a cult favorite.

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.


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