- Hardcover: 233 pages
- Publisher: Mysterious Pr; First Edition edition (January 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0892962208
- ISBN-13: 978-0892962204
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,039,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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False Pretenses Hardcover – January, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
After a month spent pursuing perplexed oldsters whose abler relatives hope to claim conservatorship of their assets, a change is as good as a rest for LA shamus Jacob Asch, seen before in Other People's Money et al. Although Asch has a classic hangdog charm, this particular case limps along unconvincingly and without much continuity. The man who hires Asch to follow his straying wife isn't who he says he is; the wife Asch tails is a prostitute hired for the job. When the man is killed in Asch's office, the PI is in position for the fall. While investigating what he was set up for, Asch gets involved with a long-legged, dark-haired beauty of a police officer who entertains him in lacy little nothings that don't go with her uniform. He doesn't exactly complain, even as he still serves as occasional sexual plaything for a lusty television anchorwoman. After more killings, the suggestion of cop corruption arises, leading to a conclusion that seems too neat, despite the threads, especially emotional ones, left hanging in the warm California air. Nevertheless, the shabby, solitary Asch, hunkered down in his own retro-California, inhabits a decidedly Chandler-esque time and place.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
After a five-year hiatus, Jacob Asch is back. The prototypical modern L.A. private eye, Asch is forced to supplement his income tracking down elderly wards of the state who have wandered off. Then he lands the job of tailing one Mark Jacobi's wife. After an uneventful day of tailing her, Asch returns to his office to find Mark Jacobi dead from a bullet in the brain. As the cops conduct their investigation, Asch finds out that Jacobi wasn't really Jacobi but a small-time hustler and snitch. As Asch says, echoing Sam Spade, when a guy gets killed in your office, it's bad for detectives everywhere, and he has to do something about it. Heading the official investigation is Lieutenant Leslie Boetticher, blond bombshell and hard-nosed cop. Asch falls for her--hard. When his investigation leads him to Leslie's partner, Asch is forced to make some difficult decisions. How much can he trust Leslie? A tough, clever mystery with more than a little debt to The Maltese Falcon; Asch is a worthy descendant of Mr. Spade. Wes Lukowsky
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Top customer reviews
When the police verify Asch's whereabouts during the day, they finally release Asch, who vows to solve the mystery of the murdered client. When each lead seems to leave to a corpse, Asch finds himself involved in an even larger mystery and a growing cast of suspects. He finds himself growing increasingly suspicious as he falls into the arms of a gorgeous blonde homicide detective. But can he trust her, her alcoholic partner, the self-centered reporter who did the story on police corruption, the widow of a slain cop, the mechanic who dabbles as a pimp, or any of the other people in the story?
"False Pretenses" is a hard-boiled detective story for the '90s, true to the genre's pioneers without being an anachronism. Jacob Asch may not be Sam Spade, but he is not too far removed. The result is a very enjoyable novel.
Lyons' execution is nearly flawless. The story never sags, from its opening in which a new client is found dead in Asch's office. The pursuit of the truth about the client, his prostitute girlfriend and junkie crime-partner is wound into a tight, elegant ball of a plot, surrounded by a host of LA police detectives... some cooperative and some downright suspicious of Asch's motives.
I encountered and read this book by accident. I will hunt down the other Asch novels for the simple reason that this book is an entertaining, nearly flawless example of LA PI fiction.