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Fields Where They Lay: A Junior Bender Holiday Mystery    by Timothy Hallinan order for
Fields Where They Lay
by Timothy Hallinan
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

What better place to have a Christmas mystery unfold than in a shopping mall that has seen better days and is in jeopardy of finally shutting its doors once the holiday season is over?

Junior Bender, an accomplished thief and private sleuth who specializes in assisting Los Angeles' criminal element, is called in a few days before December 25th to see who is ripping off the merchants at the mall.

The Edgerton Mall is owned by Russian mobsters who don't like to see their tenants taken advantage of in this manner, so Junior has been charged with getting to the bottom of the shoplifting plague quickly. Unfortunately, if he doesn't find answers, his Christmas gift from his employer will involve a one way trip to the local cemetery.

The mall surveillance operation becomes more complicated when two people are found dead, which makes the Edgerton Mall not the type of venue that will attract a lot of festive, last minute shoppers in search of bargains.

Timothy Hallinan's Junior Bender series has attracted a wide range of readers with its wicked blend of humor and mystery mayhem. This latest adventure allows the author to not only vent some of his feelings about the commercialism of Christmas, but he is also able to expand the back stories that revolve around Junior's teenage daughter and Ronnie, his latest love interest. Some of Ronnie's mysterious past is revealed in the closing chapters of this holiday romp.

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