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The Good Know Nothing: A California Century Mystery    by Ken Kuhlken order for
Good Know Nothing
by Ken Kuhlken
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Good Know Nothing by Ken Kuhlken is the last of the California Century novels, taking place in the 1900s.

It is the summer of 1936 as Dust Bowl farmers and their families stream into California, hoping to find a livelihood there. Charlie Hickey, police detective Tom Hickey's father, disappeared long ago. Tom has felt that loss since he was a small boy. Especially since his mother was not stable mentally. When an old friend brings Tom a manuscript thought to be written by Charlie, Tom decides to track down his father using clues from the manuscript which he believes his father wrote about his life. Maybe he can find his father. If not, at least he might discover why the man left Tom and his mother.

Tom lures novelist B. Traven to Catalina to accuse him of stealing his father's manuscript. He is sure Traven is guilty of not only the theft but of killing the author. Traven weaves names from our past into the tale. One is the Sundance Kid. In Tucson, Tom comes up against William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper baron who made his money, according to Tom, by nefarious means. Tom is told that his father was a criminal. He dismisses this accusation and continues his search even though he could lose his family and has probably already lost his job.

The Good Know Nothing is a fascinating finish to a great series. Bringing well-known names into the plot makes the story seem up-to-date and real. I did have a bit of trouble getting into the book, but stuck it out and was rewarded for my time.

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