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Three Strikes You're Dead (A Snap Malek Mystery Book One) Paperback – April 1, 2005

10 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Snap Malek Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Steve Malek is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune in 1938. Lloyd Martindale is the heir to a huge steel fortune and is mounting a challenge to the incumbent mayor, Edward J Kelly. The key to his platform is stamping out organized crime, so when he is gunned down, conventional wisdom pins the killing on the Mob. Malek, trying to resuscitate his career after a battle with the bottle and a divorce, doesn't buy the Mob theory. His suspicions are confirmed when he is summoned to the Joliet penitentiary to meet with Al Capone. The legendary crime boss assures Malek that his boys had nothing to do with Martindale's death and makes it clear that Malek will be healthier if he finds out who the real killer was. Goldsborough, best known as the heir to Rex Stout via his half-dozen Nero Wolfe novels, creates a prewar Chicago that is at once sinister and appealing. He also weaves an engaging subplot involving Dizzy Dean and the Chicago Cubs' drive to the 1938 World Series. An enormously entertaining caper. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"...cause for any mystery fan to rejoice! ...a master storyteller, crackling dialogue...plot twists around every corner...a real treat!" -- Max Allan Collins, author of Road to Purgatory

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Echelon Press Publishing (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590804244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590804247
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Sherratt on April 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every now and then you pick up a novel and start to read and know after only one page that the book is going to be a winner. "Strike Three You're Dead" is one of those books. Chicago, 1938: Capone is in prison, the Cubs are in third place, and Steve Malik, Chicago Tribune police reporter, has a handle on his drinking, mostly.

They say location is an important element in any mystery and that is certainly the case with this one. You walk the streets of the nation's second largest city blanketed by the shadow of the Tribune Tower, feel the breeze coming off Lake Michigan, and hear the rumble of the El as you sense the cold tension in the air caused by the remnants of Capone's organization, old time gangsters still at war with the cops and politicians.

Baseball plays a supporting role in this tale. Dizzy Dean and his Cubs teammates pop in and out, frequenting Malik's hangout, Kilkenny's Bar and Grill, as they struggle to capture the National League title and ultimately face the Yanks in the '38 World Series.

There's a smidgen of a romance that goes nowhere, maybe to be rekindled in a sequel, and there are walk-on parts played by the famous and near famous of the times peppered throughout the book. But this is a crime novel. The murder of a leading Republican mayoral candidate is front and center. Steve Malik must solve the crime, and find the true killer, not the suspect the cops have hung it on, before he too is another static buried in the legacy of the era.

Robert Goldsborough is a writer. His diction, prose, and style reflect the many years he spent in professional journalism as a reporter with the Chicago Tribune and other prestigious publications.

If you enjoy well written, intriguing mystery novels order "Three Strikes You're Dead." You won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on October 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
1938 World Series. The Depression. Capone. Chicago. Robert Goldsborough fills the novel with a real world. A realistic, gritty, world of cops, crime and angry editors. If he writes his Nero Wolfe novels as well as he writes his own original creations I have more books of his to buy.
Plot, simple. Goodie-goodie two shoe is killed. Everybody blames the Mob. Mob goes to Steve Malek, Tribune police reporter, with the news that they didn't do it. He decides to go with that angle and solve the mystery on just who DID kill the victim. Interesting. Feels like you are in 1938 Chicago which has more to worry about outside of one lone murder - things are happening in the background even while Steve runs about, trying to find clues.
Get it used or new, but pick it up. If you are a fan of Nero Wolfe or just love historical mysteries, get this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Russell on April 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Goldsborough's writings-usually. This book is a little too noir for me. Not that you shouldn't buy it and enjoy it. I'll keep slogging through it. I have all the Nero Wolfe stories he wrote, including When Archie Meets Wolfe; and I had no idea it was even out there until recently. Sometimes ya just have to accept that not all stories will thrill you. The fun is reading them to find out.
Addendum- That's what I get for giving a review before I've given the book every chance. I admit I had to slog through the first couple of chapters-just not my thing; however, it turned out to be an interesting and well-written story and I have to give it a thumbs up after all. Mea culpa.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Murray on January 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I might have given this four stars except for that undeserved, in my opinion, one star review by Annie. As others have said this really has that authentic "classic mystery" flavor. I don't think this is as good as his (R.G) Nero Wolfe "continuations", which are exceptional, but then that may be just a matter of taste since Snap is Goldsborough's own creation and not a convincing re-creation a Stout character (Remarkably convincing!)

A very entertaing "read" with interesting use of several historical characters. There are occasional gratuitous "cuss" words that seem to jar with the otherwise pleasant "thirtyish" style narrative.

Thanks again Mr. Goldsborough!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark S. Millman on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read most of Goldsborough's Nero Wolfe stories and while he's no Rex Stout they were an admirable homage to the master.

This is my first Snap Malek mystery and it was a pleasure. In many ways it shares a common ambiance with the Nero Wolfe stories but it comes out in Goldsborough's own voice and is more authentic. I miss Wolfe but I'm happier reading of Malek than of Nero's ghost.
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