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    Review of PELHAM FELL HERE by Ed Lynskey

    Mundania, June 2008

    After a couple hitches in the US Military Police, Frank Johnson has returned to rural Virginia where he drinks, does gunsmithing, mows lawns, and plots revenge against his cheating ex-wife. When his cousin is murdered and the local sheriff decides Frank is the ideal suspect, he realizes he's got to change his life. Of course, that's assuming that he has a life. With deputies shooting without warning, Johnson has more problems than any one man can face.

    Johnson's problems escalate when he realizes he's somehow become an obstacle to a group of American neo-Nazis intent on using terrorism to recreate the nation. He doesn't want to believe his cousin would have anything to do with Nazis, but the evidence becomes increasingly clear. What is also clear is that Johnson had better bring in the evidence before the police catch him because nobody would believe his story.

    Author Ed Lynskey (see more reviews of mysteries by Lynskey) uses PELHAM FELL HERE as the gritty beginning to the Frank Johnson story. Johnson's battles with the police and neo-Nazis is matched with his internal battle with himself. His vindictive need to murder his ex-wife serves as an anchor pulling him backward. We can see some hope, though, when he rescues a pet ferret.

    Ed Lynskey writes a no-nonsense hard-boiled detective thriller, using words like a fencer uses a foil to nail us with a concept or visual picture. He brings ex-urban Virginia, with its clash of culture between the long-time residents and the McMansions springing up, into a stark picture and lets us see how hate groups, like his neo-Nazis, really could creep up in America. Although hard-boiled detective fiction is no longer the mainstay of mystery that it was decades ago, it's great to see a master like Lynskey keeping it alive.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 4/12/08

    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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