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Little Elvises (Junior Bender #2) (Junior Bender Mysteries) Hardcover

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

  • Series: Junior Bender Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; First Edition edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616952776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616952778
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The second Junior Bender novel is even better than the first (Crashed, 2012). Junior, a professional burglar, is roped into helping a former music-industry bigwig prove he’s innocent of murder. But here’s the thing: the man, who used to be famous for discovering a series of 1960s singing sensations known collectively (and rather derisively) as “little Elvises,” freely admits he was planning to kill the victim, a sleazy tabloid reporter. The only reason he didn’t do it is because somebody else got to him first. Full of delightful characters—including the dead man’s not-so-grieving widow and a grotesque killing machine named Fronts—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. This is hardly the first series about a burglar-hero—see Lawrence Block’s classic Bernie Rhodenbarr series, just for starters—but the Bender novels are fresh, exciting, and hugely, splendidly entertaining. --David Pitt


Praise for Little Elvises

A Crimespree Magazine Best Book of 2013

"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

"Hallinan introduces us to a drugged-out, pain-impervious hit man, a nonagenarian puppet master who rules the L.A. underworld, a tabloid reporter who uses his job as a cover to blackmail the rich and the famous, and a host of other characters as dangerously outrageous as the murderous crew obsessed with obtaining the black bird in Hammett's 1930 masterpiece."
Associated Press

"Every now and then a writer comes along with the imagination and skill to make the whole thing feel fresh and new again. That's what veteran crime novelist Timothy Hallinan has accomplished."
Washington Post

"A well-drawn cast of quirky characters, witty dialog, and a fast-paced and funny plot make this crime novel nearly impossible to put down."
—Library Journal

"Laugh-out-loud....'You want to be funny,' says one of Junior’s sidekicks, 'hire a writer.' For that, Hallinan’s your man."
—Boston Globe

"The first book in the series, 'Crashed' (2012), was great fun. The new one, 'Little Elvises,' is even better."
San Francisco Chronicle

"An intricate high-stakes plot [and] a compelling subplot."
Miami Herald


"As the story opens, Junior is in a fix, or rather, a bunch of them..."
Huffington Post

"Featuring Junior Bender, full-time Los Angeles burglar and part-time private eye-style fixer for the city's criminal element."
Seattle Times

"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

“Rewarding.... Captures the SoCal milieu perfectly and impeccably.”
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

“Hallinan’s characters and dialog are top-notch, with a lively plot full of witty banter and comic scenes that will keep readers laughing.”
Library Journal

"A hallmark of a Timothy Hallinan mystery novel are unusual situations and characterizations, and a whole lot of humor. "Little Elvises" is no exception."
—Midwest Book Review

"Little Elvises begs comparison to Tim Doresey or Carl Hiaasen novels: It's quirky and hip, and often laugh-out-loud funny."
BookPage, TOP PICK

"One thing that immediately hits you about Timothy Hallinan’s writing is the clarity and snap of his prose. Junior Bender isn’t a gumshoe, but the cadence of his voice and his observations harken back to other great detectives who were expert at landing a crucial, devastating remark, as well as using their fists or a pistol. It’s a cliché, of course, to bring up Raymond Chandler’s Marlowe, but the similarities are nevertheless present in fitting ways."
—Derek Hill, Mystery Scene

“Reading about crime is well and good, but when vivid writing makes laughs snort out of your nose, that's even better. It's one of the reasons I like Timothy Hallinan.... There are few better ways of spending a lazy evening than hanging out with resourceful Los Angeles burglar Junior Bender.”
—Read Me Deadly

"A nifty plot...[that] takes a surprising and satisfying twist in the final chapters."
—Tzer Island

"If you enjoy the best of Lawrence Block or the capers that Donald Westlake wrote (or, not to be gendered about it, Bethany Maines!); get a kick out of Los Angeles crime fiction like Raymond Chandler's; and appreciate a well-played hand of characters whose mistakes feel very, very believable, even though they're criminals and you're not (I hope!) ... then this is a series you'll enjoy."
—Kingdom Books

"A Hollyweird mystery that has more nuts than a Planters factory."

Praise for the Junior Bender Series

"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 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

"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
Book Review

“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

"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

“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

“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

“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

Praise for Timothy Hallinan

 “Hallinan has a genuine ability to write effective prose, engaging repartee, sharp and witty characterizations.”
Washington Post Book World
"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 

“Hallinan is a stunning talent.”
—Gregg Hurwitz, author of They're Watching


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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 82 customer reviews
As noted, Junior is a great character.
Richard A. Mitchell
Once again, Mr. Hallinan has written a gripping and suspenseful mystery thriller, and filled it with a wonderful caste of characters.
E. Kaser
I fell in love with Timothy Hallinan's writing with his Poke Rafferty series.
Jaden Terrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
The only problem with this book is that you'll laugh so hard the tears are apt to short out your eReader. A screw-ball comedy worthy of Johnathan Latimer's William Crane and cynically funny as Donald Westlake's John Dortmunder stories. You just can't help but love Junior Bender.

But this isn't just a funny book. This is serious hardboiled noir and Los Angles, and the area around L.A. make even the most screw ball charactere believable. I think I went to high school with Fronts and Marge has been my land lady more than once...

Little Elvises is a romp through LaLa land inside a convoluted plot that somehow is familiar and decipherable and, most of all, enjoyable. Junior Bender is a high-end thief and burglar who not only has never been caught, but is well known by the authorities, but often finds himself in the unenviable position of solving problems for other criminal elements and those who can't seek "justice" through the law. He's the crooks cop; the lost and found detective for those on the other side of the fence.

The Little Elvises opens with Junior being detained by the police for the Hammer job, which he wasn't involved in. A judge and his wife were robbed at gun point and the wife was pistol whipped. Naturally the cops are under some pressure to bring the perps in. It's well known that Junior never uses a gun, and he has many alibi witnesses. Case closed,... but not so fast. It doesn't matter that Junior is innocent to Detective DiGaudio, because he has intimidated the witnesses. As he tells Junior, "It doesn't matter whether you did it. What matters is that we can make you for it."

Junior also falls for the dead writers ex wife, who may just be the real murder.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. G. VINE VOICE on January 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The blurb on this book compares Hallinan to Raymond Chandler. Actually, it states that he IS the next Raymond Chandler. This claim immediately made me hostile.

I started this book prepared to be skeptical, because of this awesome claim. For about 6 pages I muttered and scoffed. And then I started to enjoy the book. And then I began to LOVE the book.

For those of you who love Chandler, there are many lines to equal, "he was about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a piece of angel food," in this book.

But Hallinan is not a knock-off Marlowe (which would have been a pretty damn good objective for most mystery writers), he is a man of the twenty-first century, something Chandler had no knowledge of. I like Junior (the protagonist. He is cocky, smart, quick, clumsy, modest, tough, sweet, and insane about his teenaged kid. And he does it all in a way that I think Marlowe would have respected, if maybe not quite understood.

The story is fun and the supporting characters are often memorable. There is definitely a lot about this book that reminds me of reading Chandler. There is a noirish quality, but the style is all Hallinan's own.

I will most definitely buy his next book and will also buy the last book in this series. I like Junior and will want to keep an eye on him.

Run, don't walk, to get a copy of this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thea McLennan on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Junior is back, holed up in Blitzen (and Prancer) in what qualifies as the Bates Motel for the House Beautiful set, featuring "carpet the precise color of guilt". Once again Tim Hallinan nails it--no, skewers it--in this 2nd book in his Bender series, providing lots of (fairly) controlled mayhem and wry commentary on every page. Hallinan is a master of visceral detail and not just the splat kind--an interrogation involving multiple Tootsie Rolls and "a rich brown grin" will have you hooked right from the first chapter. In a genre not noted for its sensitive handling of gender issues, this novel stands out for its wit and humanity in its portrayal of women of all ages and degrees of attractiveness. (Except for one.) Highly recommended...get "Crashed" first and then go straight on to "Little Elvises".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on February 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
A pattern seems to be developing n the Junior Bender series. In the debut novel, "Crashed," Junior, a professional burglar, was blackmailed, indirectly, by Trey Annunziato, the female head of a crime family, to steal a Klee. In this, the second book in the series, he is blackmailed by a detective to try to protect his uncle, Vincent Di Gaudio, from a murder rap. I guess we'll have to wait for the third installment, expected in June, "The Fame Thief," to find out whether the trend continues.

Be that as it may be, there are two stories in the present novel. First is the murder of a gossip reporter, for which a prime suspect is Vincent DiGaudio, known for finding and promoting various boys known as the "Little Elvises" during the 1950's. Then the owner of the motel in which Junior is living asks him to find her daughter, from whom she has not heard for some time. Apparently she was living with a man suspected of murdering several women. Just to add an additional touch of complexity and humor to the novel, Junior becomes involved with the journalist's widow, while his ex-wife and 13-year-old daughter each have new boyfriends, complicating his life further.

A hallmark of a Timothy Hallinan mystery novel are unusual situations and characterizations, and a whole lot of humor. "Little Elvises" is no exception. Junior continues to evolve in this book, and we find him becoming softer and more human, despite the bizarre confrontations he gets into. It's a worthy follow-up, and we look forward to the next chapter in his life.

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