- Series: Otto Penzler Books
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Carroll & Graf; English Language edition (April 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786711639
- ISBN-13: 978-0786711635
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,586,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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City of Strangers: A Jack Liffey Mystery (Otto Penzler Books) Hardcover – April, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Shannon's superb sixth book (after 2002's Streets of Fire) to feature L.A. PI Jack Liffey explores the complicated ethnic mix of Los Angeles's Iranian community. Hired by psychiatrist Dicky Auslander to find his missing teenage daughter, Rebecca, who disappeared with four Iranian boys from an exclusive private school, Liffey learns a lot about this virtually invisible minority while discovering dangerous links to a fanatic Muslim sheik and a brutal Mexican drug family. Liffey is also forced to take a hard look at himself-part of the condition of his employment being regular sessions with Rebecca's father. Just dumped by his longtime ladyfriend, who became a born-again Christian, and not allowed to see his own teenage daughter, Maeve, because of unpaid child support, Liffey finds himself even more lost and depressed than ever, breaking into tears at inappropriate moments. He's somewhat consoled by two promising new women he meets during the course of the investigation, and Maeve's mother eventually relents and lets Maeve both help and hinder Jack in the search for the missing teens. Liffey also has to shoulder a lot of physical pain in the course of his search-though Shannon is shrewd enough to lighten the reader's load with a sharply observed gallery of pompous adults and touching children. As his fans well know, reading a Jack Liffey novel is no day at the beach. But then again, neither is life in Southern California.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* With his sixth Jack Liffey book, Shannon's series is still on an upward trajectory. When college friend Dicky Auslander's daughter goes missing, Auslander, now a self-important psychologist, retains Liffey on the condition that he undergo therapy during case updates--mutual friends have tipped the shrink that the detective's life is not going so well. Liffey sort of agrees and finds the daughter's absence may be tied to that of four prep-school Persian Americans who have taken the first steps toward militancy in the name of Islam. As if that's not enough, a link to money stolen from Mexican drug lords leads Liffey into dangerous territory south of the border. The middle-aged gumshoe also struggles to solve problems presented by his own headstrong daughter--who has made Liffey & Liffey business cards--and the mysteries of his own heart after his latest breakup. Between crime-solving and parenting dilemmas, Shannon offers sage ruminations on belief, belonging, and responsibility. Liffey is a terrific character--smart, funny, sad, and a keen observer of social strata and the world at large. His journey after the truth is realistically messy, and we're with him every step of the way. If only all mystery novels were this good. Keir Graff
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Top Customer Reviews
As always, when Liffey ultimately makes contact with the young people he's been hired to find, there are deeply thoughtful exchanges. Never condescending, never patronizing, always self-deprecating, yet always sensitive to their struggles--whether real or imagined--Liffey enters into their lives offering his battered heart and body as support for their sorrows. No one I've read has such a profound grasp on the issues that are central to the lives of youngsters approaching the treacherous border of adulthood. Liffey is a good man whose empathy is a poultice for the injured young, drawing out their pain and taking it into himself--like the archetypal sin eater.
Then, gleefully, there are the apocalyptic views that are sprinkled throughout every Liffey adventure. This time out, sadly, there are no little rat-like dogs to be hated. But there is a billboard advertising Drive-Through Hi-Colonics. Relief Without Waiting. (Hilarious!) And there are a couple of bemasked individuals on the street, holding up a banner that says, "Open Up Area 51, Display the Alien Remains."
Finally, happily, Jack has connected with the redoubtable Miss Rebecca Plumkill. And there are bits of a shredded foam pillow littering the bedroom. Now how, we have to wonder with amusement, did that happen? And aren't we glad that some warm light has managed to filter through the gloom of Jack's sorrows!
My highest recommendation.
This time around, Jack's been hired by a college roommate who's now a shrink. The shrink has a daughter who's 17 and who's vanished without a trace. The only real clue is that she had an Iranian boyfriend, who dumped her after converting to a more radical version of Islam. When Liffey interviews the boy's parents, it's immediately apparent that things aren't what they seem, and the story takes off.
Shannon's made Liffey into an interesting character. He's sort of the prototype of the old-fashioned private eye. If he gets into a fight with the bad guys, he *might* win if there's only one guy to fight. Two, and he'll probably lose. If they shoot at him, he ducks, runs, hides, whatever, and gets hurt more often than not, winding up in the hospital. And of course the women enjoy him a great deal, and he winds up in bed with 1 or 2 per book.
I enjoyed this entry into the series a lot more than the last one. The author didn't try quite as hard to make LA look silly, and the plot was more satisfying. Recommended.