PALE SHADOW by Robert Skinner
A Wesley Farrell Mystery No. 5
Poisoned Pen Press - August 2001
ISBN: 1890208663 - Hardcover
Historical Mystery - 1940, New Orleans

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks,
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Wes Farrell is back for his fifth hardboiled case in a series known for its gritty characters, sultry atmosphere, and compelling storylines. Just like the others in the series, the first few pages set the scene and draw the reader in. Although this one is a bit less intense compared to past titles in the series, it does hold it's own.

It's September 1940 in New Orleans, the end of a long hot summer, and Linda Blanc, who has suffered the ultimate for keeping her mouth shut. Dixie Ray is a hitter sent to find Martinez. Linda was Martinez's lady. Martinez maybe a crook, but he's well liked and well hidden, so the killing continues. Compasso hired Dixie Ray to recover his counterfeit plates before the big boss, whose identity is a mystery until the end, loses his patience. Sergeant Daggett and Detective Sam Andrews, working the first hit case, run into Agent Ewell of the Treasury Department; he is looking for Martinez too. Wes Farrell, who is an old friend of Martinez, starts looking for him when a Priest arrives with bad news. And if that isn't enough, a sexy ex-girlfriend is looking for him, and whose side she's on isn't quite evident…yet.

The seedy side of New Orleans comes to life as an unpleasant, credible world of criminals, cons, prostitutes, and crooked bankers. Pale Shadow is a story where everybody is looking for somebody. The readers become captive observers unable to interact or turn away from the perilous scenes awaiting the characters. If you like your mysteries hardboiled to the max then this is the series for you.

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