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The Big Show Stopper Paperback – September 16, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken was born in 1938. In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken not long after the picture on the right was taken. At the end of World War II, Ken’s family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer’s brat on a base called Fort Warren. By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken’s luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California. In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties. In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg. With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing. Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded. Then, ten years ago, in a moment of madness, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens. After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel. Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world’s latest overnight sensation.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Different Drummer Press (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578054590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578054599
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,184,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting mystery but the characters are not my cup of tea.

The lawyer, Pinky, is a big shot guy who has several ex-wives and is more interested in money than relationships or helping his clients. There are parts of his character that I liked, but maybe more I didn't like.

Pinky's PI is a prior client who he got off from a murder charge. Bear is a big guy, to suit his name. He tends to engage his fists before his brain. I suppose what really turned me off was Bear's female companion. Sometimes she is smarter than he is which is fine. But other times she is just a whiny female who seems to be looking for a sugar daddy. Okay...so Bear and Flo seem to have a thing that works for them. It didn't work for me.

As the concert crew immediately begin to pack up and move on to the next gig, Bear recognizes that the death was not accidental. He turns to the local cop, Ice, to arrest the prime suspect, Jack,.who happens to be a friend of Bear's. Pinky agrees to represent Jack at least to negotiate a plea which is all the defense that Jack can afford. Then a female girlfriend shows up and offer a million dollar fee if Pinky can come up with another viable suspect and get Jack released within two weeks. Now the investigation gets really serious and Bear, with Flo in tow, is off to track down other suspects.

I liked the mystery; there was some very good action and the writing flowed well. I didn't like Flo's whines and the outrageous expenses that she and Bear ran up as though it was their "due." Also I didn't like that Pinky fixated on one suspect to drag in for the money instead of thinking it through to the facts.

A lot of this story reminded me of Keystone Cops falling into the right place and the right time to find the right suspect.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second Pinky and Bear mystery in Ken Dalton's series. Pinky is J. Pincus Delmont, the best criminal lawyer (he is quick to tell you) in Carson City, Nevada. Pinky gets results but doesn't mind pushing the morality envelope to do so. Bear is Bear Zabarte, a street-wise guy who came from a Basque sheep-herding family and now makes a living doing this and that. The that at the moment is working as an investigator for Pinky Bear is accompanied everywhere by his girlfriend Flo, who would be welcomed as a regular on Jersey Shore. A high-maintenance woman with a great body and demands piled high, she makes sure Bear toes the line and also that he gets his due from Pinky.

Bear and Flo head for a concert, Bear's birthday present to Flo, to hear her favorite singer Brady Blackstone. Jack Spurlock, Flo's hairdresser's son, has come up with great tickets and a backstage pass. Ready for a fun night, instead they and a screaming audience of fans are shocked when an accident on stage results in Brady's death. The police soon determine that it is no accident, and arrest Jack, who was in charge of making sure all the equipment worked.

Pinky and Bear spring into action. Pinky is contacted by the grieving widow, who isn't grieving at all, and who is having an affair with Jack. She offers Pinky a big fee if he can get Jack released from jail. Pinky puts Bear on the case, and he takes Flo with him. There are lots of quirky characters; a Vietnam vet who is homeless, various characters in the real estate business, Pinky's ex-wife, Willow, who is the prosecutor, a cute blonde who seems to be after Bear, and a policeman who has vowed to put Bear in jail. Can this pair discover what caused Brady's death and free Jack before the fee time limit runs out?
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Format: Paperback
Partnerships are a traditional feature in mystery novels and in The Big Show Stopper, author Ken Dalton pairs urbane lawyer, J Pincus Delemont and petty criminal turned investigator Bear Zebarte. This book is the second in the Pinky and the Bear series, the first being The Bloody Birthright.
Bear and his bombshell girlfriend, Flo, are attending a concert when the beloved star dies in what is first thought to be a tragic accident. It is quickly discovered that Brady Blackstone has been murdered and the superstars' wife is willing to pay Pinky a very healthy bonus if he can prove that her lover is not responsible.
The Big Show Stopper unfurls with deliberation as at the behest of Pinky Bear and Flo drive across the country following the slimmest of leads. Bear's investigative inexperience is tempered by Flo's smarts as the couple make the most of th expense account to identify suspects. Bear may not be terribly bright but he is resourceful, and I thought him likeable. Flo provides some light relief and I was amused by her diva behaviour. I didn't find Pinky particularly appealing, his pomposity, greed and misogyny reduces him to a cliche.
The investigation developed slowly and I felt the pace of the story dragged despite the deadline suggesting urgency. I can contribute part of that feeling to the books very dry humour and formal language which I struggled with at times. The narrative shifts between the perspective of Pinky and Bear which breaks up the events, but I didn't feel the change was reflected in the dialogue or tone for the characters.
I did enjoy the minor subplots, such as the vindictive detective and the overreaching secretary, though I think both perhaps had roots in the first Pinky and Bear mystery which I was not privy to.
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