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The Blue Cheer Paperback – April 30, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in the remote mountains of West Virginia, this gritty contemporary detective novel, Lynskey's second to feature former PI Frank Johnson (after 2006's The Dirt-Brown Derby), will remind many of such masters of hard-boiled prose as Loren Estleman. Johnson has sought to still the memories of a deadly encounter with the Ku Klux Klan by retreating to the Appalachian town of Scarab, where people—and friends—are few and far between. Johnson witnesses what appears to be a Stinger missile strike against an unmanned aerial drone hovering above his yard, and he calls on his closest local companion, Old Man Maddox, a retired CIA agent. When the pair pursue the mystery with the local sheriff, a cascade of violence overwhelms the quiet community—murders that may be connected with a shadowy local racist cult known as the Blue Cheer. Despite a somewhat predictable resolution, the first-rate writing will leave readers eager to see more of Johnson. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* PI Frank Johnson, who moved to rural West Virginia in search of peace and quiet, stumbles on his noisiest case yet when a Stinger missile explodes in the air over his property. He thinks it ought to be a simple matter to find out why the missile was in the skies over West Virginia, but when he is beaten up, and then his best friend's wife is murdered, Frank quickly realizes he has caught the tail of a monster. Soon he is hot on the trail of a cult called the Blue Cheer, and stopping their murderous plans means putting his own neck right in the line of fire. This is the second novel to feature Frank Johnson (following The Dirty-Brown Derby, 2006),nd it definitely lives up to the buzz the author has been generating among genre enthusiasts. Lynskey has a sure hand, and he tackles the PI genre like a veteran, packing the book with great lines like "Awaking the next morning on the cusp of the DTs, I quit drinking cold turkey, a knack the Black Irish carry in their genes." Top-of-the-line hard-boiled fare from a novelist and a small press we hope to hear more from in the future. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: PointBlank (April 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809556677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809556670
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,538,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For you Dashiell Hammett fans, Ed Lynskey's P.I. Frank Johnson evokes comparison to Hammett's P.I. known as the Continental Op. Although instead of the 1930's, "The Blue Cheer" is set in contemporary West Virginia. Johnson is down-on-his-luck with little chance to better his condition. He is living in a remote cabin in Appalachia; his only friend is "Old Man" Maddux, a black Viet Nam vet. The book opens with Johnson seeing a drone flying nearby when it suddenly explodes. He walks to the wreckage site and finds pieces of a Stinger missile. He is knocked out and the important pieces of the Stinger are removed. He tells his story to Old Man and they go to the local sheriff to tell their tale. Bad move on their part. From then on out murder and mayhem involving a crooked cop, a mysterious group called "The Blue Cheer", and a threatening prison warden. There are some twists and surprises, and the action is nearly non-stop to the final page. This is the 6th or 7th Lynskey book I have read (the fourth Frank Johnson). All are well-worth reading and highly recommended
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Format: Paperback
There exists a false premise --- implied, but real nonetheless --- that noir detective fiction must be limited to metropolitan settings; that only big cities, preferably on a coast, contains the requisite breadth of plot and cast of characters required for the genre. A number of novels shows this not to be true: THE LAST GOOD KISS by James Crumley and THE ICE HARVEST by Scott Phillips immediately come to mind --- and now, THE BLUE CHEER by Ed Lynskey.

This book is set in rural West Virginia and features the return of Frank Johnson, Lynskey's bloodied but unbowed PI. Johnson has moved to Scarab, West Virginia, hoping to leave the tumult he experienced in Virginia behind him while he leads a quiet day-to-day existence in the middle of nowhere. All is well until a mid-air explosion occurs literally above his head one night. Johnson quickly discovers that the cause of the fireworks is a Stinger missile, but his self-congratulations is short-lived due to his being knocked out almost immediately.

When he comes to his senses, the evidence is gone and his car has been vandalized. The local police have little interest in Johnson's report and in fact go to extraordinary lengths to discourage him. Old Man Maddox, Johnson's enigmatic friend and neighbor, is there to help, along with Robert Gaitlin, a crackerjack defense attorney whose abilities don't end in the courtroom. Their assistance, however, may not be enough against the Blue Cheer, a racist organization that has taken root in the West Virginia hills and appears to have connections even in the most unexpected places.
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Format: Paperback
Author Ed Lynskey truly takes us on an unexpected ride in his
new work "The Blue Cheer," staring our famous PI Johnson.
Searching for some relief from the taxing life he has led, Frank
Johnson moves to West Virginia to a quiet mountain community; or
is it? Awaken to an exploding Stinger rocket in his backyard was
not something he had envisioned occurring. In his investigation,
Frank is pulled into a secret that will rock his world and those
around him. And in an attempt to keep this concealed deaths soon
occur and Frank is more determined than ever to find out the
real truth.
I believe in this work our author shows a new side of PI Frank
Johnson. Although he is still as some would call, rough around
the edges, this work allows a small insight into the heart of
the man. This was a good touch as it draws you more into the
series of this work and its main character. This story is not a
creeper but moves along at a fast clip, dropping surprises and
throwing in characters as red and shiny as a ripe apple and as
sour as a bad one. It has mystery, murder and heart, and quite a fulfilling conclusion. All in all a very good read. Well done, Mr. Lynskey.
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Format: Paperback
Hard-edged, dark, well-written detective novel... The Blue Cheer by Ed Lynskey. I'm not sure where I got the idea to pick up this book, but whoever/whatever gave me the tip, thanks...

Frank Johnson is a private investigator who is running from his past and looking for some down time. He ends up in a small West Virginia town, and all appears to be going well until he witnesses the firing of a Stinger missile on his property. When he goes to investigate, someone cold-cocks him from behind and removes the evidence. His nearest neighbor and friend "Old Man" Maddox comes over to help him figure things out. But apparently someone (or someones) want the matter dropped, and they brutally murder Maddox's wife. The small-town sheriff doesn't appear to be putting much effort into the investigation, and in fact may be part of the whole conspiracy. Throw in a corrupt police department, a town distrusting of strangers, and a shadowy group called The Blue Cheer, and Johnson has his hands full avenging deaths and staying alive...

This is one of the grittiest novels I've read in a long time. The writing is dark, reminiscent of those 50's style police pulp novels. Lynskey paints detailed pictures of the surroundings and actions, without getting overly caught up in his writing. The only problem I had is that this is part of a series, and I haven't read the earlier books. I'm sure that would explain more about the demons in Johnson's life, as well as his relationship with Maddox. But I can't fault the writer when I come in to the middle of a story. I'll definitely be going back and catching up with the adventures of Frank Johnson...
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