Loose Coins (A Mystery Featuring Al Sears)

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9780373263523: Loose Coins (A Mystery Featuring Al Sears)

Al Sears had it all. Once a hot-shot criminal lawyer, he had a trophy wife, a fortune, and a respected position in local Memphis society. And now someone wants to kill him.

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Review:

Joe L. Hensley, a former circuit court judge and lawyer, writes his series of mysteries about a detective with a similar background to his own (Robak's Witch, Robak's Fire) with a perfect ear for the nuances of small-time criminality. Now he and Indiana prosecutor Guy M. Townsend have caught that same voice in their first joint effort.

"I might have heard a little," a seedy little coin hustler is telling private eye Al Sears about rumors of a contract on Al's life. "I can't remember where it came from. I just heard it said around, after the story in the papers, that maybe that night at the game might not be the last time someone would try to get you. I guess it's for something bad you did. Bar talk and coin talk is that someone wants you in the grave."

Al, a former hotshot lawyer laid low by booze, is working part-time in the coin shop where he spent much of his former money. When a would-be robber of a poker game turns out to be an unsuccessful assassin, Al is forced to search through the pockets of his past for clues to who might want him dead. A glamorous ex-wife is a good suspect, likewise a couple of supposed pals. Even in the current tidal wave of alcoholic detectives, Sears has enough going for him to make a return visit worth waiting for. --Dick Adler

From Kirkus Reviews:

When the man who's interrupting the Thursday night poker game in the apartment over Ralph Shedden's coin shop is wearing a ski mask and toting a shotgun, it's easy to see that he doesn't just want to get dealt in for a few hands. But Ralph's assistant, part-time shamus Al Sears, knows more about the guy, even before he helps Thursday night regular (and former Memphis police chief) Harlan Roberts kill him. He's convinced that John Shelton (``The Shell''), the contract killer now cooling in the morgue, was out to kill him. Which of the disgruntled clients Sears couldn't help in his pre-alcoholic former life as a defense attorney wants him put on the spot? And how is The Shell tied in to Benny Wilson, a small-town thief who just happens to have been murdered the same night? In their first collaboration, Hensley (Robak's Witch, 1997, etc.) and Townsend provide a nonstop parade of entertaining lowlifes. But since most of the cast members pass by only once or twice, it's hard to get caught up in the question of which of them is after a fortune in collectible coinsor to feel slighted when the authors pluck a culprit from the ranks who could just as well have been anybody else. Now that Sears has set up shop, let's see if he can catch a case with a little more meat on its bones. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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