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Little Girl Lost (Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2004

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Product Details

  • Series: Hard Case Crime (Mass Market Paperback) (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Hard Crime Case (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843953519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843953510
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.1 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,675,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aleas's debut barrels forth at the speed of one of the Manhattan taxis its protagonist frequently catches and contains some whiplash-inducing plot twists. John Blake, an NYU dropout turned PI, is stunned to learn that his high school girlfriend, Miranda, who he thought went to medical school and then on to lead a tame life in the Midwest, actually became a stripper. Even more shocking—she's been murdered. Angry and confused, Blake looks into Miranda's past, beginning at a 10th-rate strip joint owned by some unsavory characters. A dancer there helps him at her peril, and he endures some beatings himself as he nears the surprise conclusion. Still, despite the seedy settings, Aleas's writing is more tinged with insight than blood; Blake reflects that "there is such a thing as... a sense of duty to the things of your past, even if they're not quite as beautiful as you remember." Gritty New York streets and scummy apartments flash by briskly, but Aleas has a detective's eye for detail, which allows him to create some atmospheric scenes (when Blake walks through a busy section of Queens, he notes everything from the kosher certification sign in a bakery's window to a drugstore's "out-of-season Coppertone displays"). Tightly written from start to finish, this crime novel is as satisfyingly edgy as the pulp classics that inspired it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Richard Aleas is the pseudonym of an Edgar and Shamus Award-winning mystery writer and editor whose work has appeared in dozens of publications including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine as well as anthologies such as Best Mystery Stories of the Year and The Year’s Best Horror Stories. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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As with other Hard Case Crime books, this is quick and easy to read.
Bill Garrison
The writing is excellent throughout, the plot engaging, the characters well-drawn and momorable, the ending shocking.
Andrew Salmon
Charles Ardai (alias Richard Aleas) has written a good first novel here.
David H Fears

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on May 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
LITTLE GIRL LOST is the debut novel of Richard Aleas, a new voice who already has won well-deserved critical and commercial acclaim for his short fiction. I mention that this is Aleas's "debut" novel simply to save you the trouble of trying to hunt down his previous books, something that you instinctively will be inclined to do after reading this fine, dark, angst-laden tale of love and greed. Make no mistake, however: Aleas, his first time out, demonstrates that he has the chops of a journeyman wordsmith.

The "little girl lost" of the title is Miranda Sugarman, the high school senior class sweetheart of John Blake. Sugarman and Blake parted ways after graduation, each with high hopes that ended in diminished results. Blake, who had planned to go on to college and be one of the world's great thinkers, became a private investigator for a competent but struggling investigation firm. He thought that Sugarman had pursued and caught her dream of medical school and an ophthalmology practice. His presumption is abruptly and irreparably shattered when he opens his newspaper one morning and reads that Sugarman --- working as a stripper at The Sin Factory, a tawdry, second-string New York City club --- has been brutally murdered. Though it has been ten years since he last saw Sugarman, Blake is compelled to investigate the circumstances surrounding her death, not only to bring her killer to justice but also to determine --- if he can --- what diverted her from her plans to practice medicine.

Blake brings a dogged, almost foolish, determination to the task, and soon finds himself forging an unlikely and uneasy alliance with Murco Khachadurian, the owner of The Sin Factory and a second-tier criminal whose penchant for cruelty is legendary.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on October 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When the headline "Stripper Murdered" boasts a photo of his ex-girlfriend Miranda Sugarman, John Blake is floored. This is the girl who left their hometown to go off to medical school in Wisconsin to become an eye doctor. What happened that caused her to end up dead on the roof of The Sin Factory? The New York P.I. decides to use his skills to find out.

With the most striking first chapter in recent memory, Little Girl Lost, the debut novel of Richard Aleas (pseudonym of acclaimed writer, editor, and entrepreneur Charles Ardai), starts out strong and keeps up the pace (though I don't know that I'd have given my book the same title as a bestselling celebrity autobiography).

When your central character is a P.I., you've got to make him not like all the others to keep a reader's interest past the crime he's trying to solve. John Blake -- interestingly, given the genre -- is not your typical "tough guy." Instead of running headlong into trouble willy-nilly, he likes to avoid it, but not enough to appear weak. He's like Jackie Chan; he knows he can handle himself, he'd just like to get away with as few bruises as possible (Robert Parker's Spenser also comes to mind). Blake depends on his intelligence and quick wit to get him through. This makes him easier to identify with for a reader with no chance whatsoever of finding himself in such a situation (I hope).

The hero's emotional attachment to the victim recalls Dashiell Hammett's classic The Maltese Falcon and this makes him a more sympathetic character, as well as giving us a voyeuristic view into his conflicting feelings.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cedric's Mom VINE VOICE on March 23, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The low life. The seemy and the seedy. Desperate people in desperate situations. Pain and jaded glibness. A solid handle on the hard-boiled crime fiction style. This is the short list of what you'll find in Richard Aleas's first offering in the Hard Case Crime series, a series he helped create and is currently the editor of.

The last time John Blake saw Miranda Sugarman, they were comfy cozy in bed together, talking about their plans after high school graduation. Ten years later, John sees Miranda's face in the paper under the headline "Stripped Found Murdered." When Blake takes it upon himself to find out what happened to his good girl, his partner tells him "you won't like what you find." But Blake takes the case on anyway, out a sense of obligation to his high school flame. Blakes' boss was right: the Miranda he knew in high school is a far cry from the Miranda who ended up dead on the rooftop of a New York strip joint. Little Girl Lost tells us how she got there.

It's been awhile since I read any James Cain, but film noir is fresh enough in my mind to know that Aleas hits all the high points of the genre. It's told in current time using current technology but it's still crime noir, which reveals what we already suspected: technology changes, but human nature doesn't.

Ride along with John Blake and his associates (the good, the bad, and especially the ugly). He's faced with a moral dilemma near the end of the story, and he could go either way. But I won't spill it. You'll have to find out for yourself.

Little Girl Lost is a solid 4-star read.
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