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Thirteen Million Dollar Pop: A Frank Behr Novel Hardcover – August 9, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Frank Behr Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


A Letter from Author David Levien

Frank Behr is a maverick. In 13 Million Dollar Pop, I wanted him to have the best reason in the world to try and curb that spirit, to walk the line and hold down a steady job--starting a new family. And then I wanted the circumstances of keeping that equilibrium to quickly become impossible for him. Every one of us, even those of us who don’t happen to be private investigators, face aspects of work and life that don’t jibe with how we want it to be. Behr’s struggle reflects that.

Of course most of us don’t come up against greedy businessman and power hungry players who are willing to stoop to all manner of crime and violence and even the use of malevolent professional killers to get what they want. That’s why Frank Behr is different than you and me. He wrestles with a strict inner code that is often at odds with the world around him, while trying to survive and overcome the animals he encounters in the streets, and if not set things right, then at least find the answers behind why it all happens.

I invite you to take the ride that is 13 Million Dollar Pop and decide for yourself how you’d do in Frank Behr’s shoes.

Review

Raves for 13 Million Dollar Pop:

“If you take heart medicine, you'll want to consult with a doctor before reading this pulse-quickening thriller from David Levien….With his machete-sharp wit, Levien paints a vivid picture of what happens when power lands in the hands of the wrong people. Not surprisingly, his characters are alive with energy, and his rapid-fire plot is hunkered in realism. All in all, [13 Million Dollar Pop] is a thunderous book that shines a light on dirty politics and the repercussions of getting caught in the crossfire. Bullet for bullet, this is one explosive read.” --Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star

PRAISE FOR DAVID LEVIEN:

“The truth of the characters—and the intensity of their pain—is as unbearably real as it gets.” —New York Times Book Review

“Levien is the new must-read thriller writer.” —Lee Child
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Product Details

  • Series: Frank Behr
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition first Printing edition (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385532539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385532532
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,779,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By michael a. draper VINE VOICE on August 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Two of the main appeals of David Levien's novels are his intricate plots and his multi-demensional characters.

In this novel, Frank Behr is a relatively new employee at the Caro Group, private investigators and personal security advisors.

As the story begins, he's on a security detail for Bernard Kolodnik. This was supposed to be an easy assignment but someone attempts to kill Kolodnik. However, Frank's quick reflexes saves him.

Frank is treated like a hero at work but wants answers. When he asks about the official investigation, he's stonewalled.

The next day, the governor appoints Kolodink as a replacement when the senior senator from Indiana resigns to fight advanced prostate cancer.

The story describes a real estate developer whose development included a casino which needed to be approved. The developer and an official in Kolodnik's staff conspire to put the developer and Kolodnik together. The result was supposed to be a quick sale and a payoff of thirteen million dollars. However, the economy and other factors stalled the development. Now that Kolodnik is a public official, he leaves his business dealings behind.

The author explores Frank's goal of solving the crime. However, he's also a compassionate man and we witness his tender moments while with his girlfriend, Susan, who is nearing her delivery date. In addition, Frank is also a man who helps people who have been unjustly treated. I felt that Frank was the type of character who would always be against bullies and attempt to do something when people were being mistreated. This made me appreciate Frank even more.

Thinking of what character in literature that Frank reminded me of, I would compare him to Tom Joad of "The Grapes of Wrath.
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Format: Hardcover
I won't rehash the whole story line here, as you can get that from the Amazon product page.

Frank Behr returns, now working for a full-service PI/security firm in Indianapolis. He's chafing at the bit, his corporate environment rubbing him as raw as the collar of the dress shirt he's forced to wear with his suit. He's about to become a father again. He finds himself on a one-man personal security detail when the bullets start flying. Though he successfully defends his principal, he can't help but try to find out exactly why he found himself at the wrong end of an assassin's gun.

This is a solid work by author Levien. It's well-plotted, and the characters are fully realized. Fast-paced and engaging. Never a dull moment. You know how when you're reading some books you kind of skip ahead when the author gets bogged down in exposition or minutiae? There's none of that here. This book moves inexorably ahead.

Now, understand that there's no "mystery" here to try to unravel. You know right from the start and all the way through just who did what. The fun is in watching Frank try to figure out what's going on, and set things to right.

In doing so, there's plenty of action; the bodies actually seem to pile up at quite a rate. That's because Frank's pitted against a professional killer who's every bit as tough as Frank himself, and much more ruthless to boot.

It all makes for a very entertaining read.

This book doesn't quite live up to Levien's premiere in City of the Sun, though. That book was quite a dazzler - maybe lightning captured in a bottle - with its somewhat surrealistic overtones and mystique.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Frank Behr doesn't fit in with the corporate culture of the private investigation/security consulting firm that employs him, but he has a baby on the way and it's a better living than he made while working on his own. Asked at the last minute to fill in as a bodyguard for Bernie Kolodnik, a wealthy businessman who is about to accept an appointment to the Senate, Behr's boredom is relieved by gunfire. When Behr later tries to learn what progress the police have made tracking down the man who tried to assassinate Kolodnik, his inquiries are stonewalled. Behr decides to investigate the shooting on his own. While he's at it, Behr investigates an apparent attempt to blackmail his boss. As we follow Behr's progress, we're also introduced to Waddy Dwyer, the Welshman who wants to see Kolodnik dead. Dwyer comes to America after deciding that if he wants the job done right, he'll have to do it himself. A real estate developer, a political consultant, a call girl and her pimp, and a former FBI agent all add to the mystery surrounding the plot to kill Kolodnik.

Behr reeks of machismo but he isn't as obnoxious as some other thriller heroes who suffer from the same affliction. He has the standard action hero personality (i.e., not much); strip away his macho veneer and there's nothing left. Still, this is a plot-driven novel and while strong characterization would have been a nice bonus, its absence doesn't negate enjoyment of the fast moving story.

David Levien's writing style is reasonably fluid. Occasional phrases are a little silly but most of his prose is slightly better than the norm for action-thrillers. As the story unfolds, Levien delivers a nice blend of action and anticipation. The plot threads cohere into a story that is intricate without becoming confusing.
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