Title: The Dirty Book Murder: A Rare Books Mystery
Author: Thomas Shawver
Series: Antiquarian Book Mystery #1
Publisher: Alibi (Random House)
Number of Pages: 220
Source: TLC Book Tours
Release Date: May 13, 2014
|In this smart, fast-paced mystery debut, Thomas Shawver introduces a charming, unlikely hero from the rarefied world of antique books.
Book merchant Michael Bevan arrives at the Kansas City auction house hoping to uncover some hidden literary gold. |
Though the auction ad had mentioned erotica, Michael is amazed to find lovely Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a novel by French author Colette with an inscription by Ernest Hemingway. This one item alone could fetch a small fortune in the right market. As Michael and fellow dealer Gareth Hughes are warming up for battle, a stranger comes out of nowhere and outbids them—to the tune of sixty grand. But Gareth is unwilling to leave the auction house empty-handed, so he steals two volumes, including the Colette novel. When Gareth is found dead the next day, Michael quickly becomes the prime suspect: Not only had the pair been tossed out of a bar mid-fistfight the night before, but there is evidence from Michael’s shop at the crime scene.
Now the attorney-turned-bookman must find out who wanted the Colette so badly that they would kill for it—and frame Michael. Desperate to stay out of police custody, Michael follows the murderer’s trail into the wealthiest echelons of the city, where power and influence meet corruption—and mystery and eroticism are perverted by pure evil. Unfortunately for Michael, one dead book dealer is only the opening chapter in a terrifying tale of high culture and lowlifes.
I have to be honest, I have no idea what made me be apart of this blog tour with TLC because mysteries normally aren't a genre I read a lot of, but I was in the mood for something different and I loved the fact that the main character was an owner of a rare book shop.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this book, and was really afraid this was going to be a d.n.f. because the first 20% of the book was so slow. However, once the murder happens things pick fast and never stop. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one.
I think what I liked most was that I was expecting a light, cozy mystery and this wasn't that at all. I learned a lot about Kansas City and bits and pieces about the rare book business, but that the author didn't act like the readers were idiots when describing them like so many mystery books do. (That's the biggest problem I have with cozies-too much attention to little details that I could care less about.)
While this wasn't light and fluffy like I thought it would be, I still really liked it-even when it turned out to be a little dark, and that has to do with the main character.Michael Bevan has a lot of issues to work out and I liked that this was one main character that was far from being perfect. He's had a hard life-made bad choices and has gotten disbarred from being a lawyer. He's slowly picked his life up again, and enjoys his bookshop. His relationship with his daughter needs a lot of work, and despite his best efforts, he keeps making things worse instead of better. I loved how his daughter didn't cut him any slack, but I also liked how he kept trying anyway to work on their relationship. There were lots of twists and turns with various characters in the book, that I really didn't see coming. For a debut book, I thought it was really well done. I enjoyed being wrong, and really should have figured out the mystery sooner then I did. All in all, this was an enjoyable read, and I can't wait to read more books in this series. :)
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