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Three Strikes You're Dead

by Robert Goldsborough

      Steve "Snap" Malek is a veteran crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune back in 1938. He's been working very hard at controlling the fondness for alcohol that has already cost him his marriage, and he seems to be doing reasonably well, only partaking of an occasional beer.

       Snap's solid reputation as a fair and accurate reporter extends beyond his peers and through prison bars to the likes of Alphonse Capone. He has actually done a jailhouse interview at the personal request of Capone himself.

      When Lloyd Martindale, a crusading Chicago mayoral candidate, is murdered, suspicion quickly falls on the Chicago mob that the politician was vowing to destroy. Al Capone doesn't like his guys taking an illegitimate rap and has his outside people contact Snap Malek to have him uncover the truth.

       Snap is skeptical at first, but a deeper look reveals the possibility that the victim had a multitude of enemies, both political and from his clouded past. The reporter tries to balance his quiet investigation with his daily job, and his attempts to keep up a normal father and son relationship with his son, Peter. Along the way, he becomes acquainted with legendary Cubs pitcher Dizzy Dean.

       The mob keeps the pressure on Snap to make sure he gets to the bottom of things and exonerates them of the crime they so vehemently deny having any knowledge of.

      It's a well paced story with great dialogue and believable characters. Purists might argue that the author strays unnecessarily from the story line from time to time, but I didn't find it to be much of a distraction. The writer does a good job of bringing real people like Dizzy Dean into the tale and making them fit. The book flows well and it's an easy read. I'd recommend it as a good way to spend a summer evening.

The Book

Echelon Press Publishing
June 2005
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The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2005
© 2005