Chicago runs in Jules Landau’s veins. So does the blood of crooks. Now Jules is going legit as a private eye, stalking bail jumpers and cheating spouses—until he gets his first big case. Unfortunately, the client is his ex-con father, and the job is finding the killer of a man whom Jules loved like family. Why did someone put two bullets in the head of gentle bookkeeper Charles Snook? Jules is determined to find out, even if the search takes him to perilous places he never wanted to go.
Snooky, as he was affectionately known, had a knack for turning dirty dollars clean, with clients ranging from humble shop owners to sharp-dressed mobsters. As Jules retraces Snooky’s last days, he crosses paths with a way-too-eager detective, a gorgeous and perplexing tattoo artist, a silver-haired university administrator with a kinky side, and a crusading journalist. Exposing one dirty secret after another, the PI is on a dangerous learning curve. And, at the top of that curve, a killer readies to strike again.
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much more than I had first thought I would. The relationship between father and son was dysfunctional, which could be expected since the father was just released from prison. At times I was surprised they were even in the same room and talking. The fact that Jules took money from his father for a murder case says a lot about their relationship – or lack of one.
Jules was a very likable character, a laid back private detective who doesn’t stop digging to find out who murdered his best friend. I loved his tenacity. When someone told him something he knew was false, he dug further. He showed up unannounced and pushed his way through doors to see people who were afraid of what he would uncover. And he had a cat that he fed very well.
I wish we had gotten to know Snooky. By all accounts in the story, even though he laundered money through his accounting business, he did it honestly (if that’s possible). He stayed away from the dirty aspects of crime and stuck with what he knew – money and people. According to every character in the book, everyone liked Snook.
The area called Maxwell Street was interesting in that it was being redeveloped by the city. Like so many other redevelopments in blighted urban areas, the improvements were pushed through the city and bought by the developers and contractors. I was able to picture this area like so many others I’ve seen in large cities.
Maxwell Street Blues was a wonderful start to what is hopefully a new series. With quirky characters (Frownie, Audrey, and LA, among others) and what could be a blossoming romance, I look forward to reading more of Jules and his cat, Punim.