Joanne (Kennesaw GA)
Greasing the Pinata by Tim Maleeny
The author's writing style, short chapters with attention grabbing first sentences and intriguing final lines,makes the story move right along. Private investigator Cape Weathers and his associates, trained by the Hong Kong Triad Sally and commitedly green Linda, comprise an oddly likable core trio.
This case is set primarily in San Francisco and Mexico. The plot revolves around current issues but is peppered with just the right amount of testosterone and old gumshoe style metaphors. Greasing the Pinata should appeal to readers who enjoy action mysteries. It might be interesting to see this author weave Cape and Sally into a more psychologically suspenseful who-dunnit in a future tale.
Barbara (Riverside CA)
Greasing the Pinata
This book appears to have an identity crisis. Perhaps if I had read the first two about the characters it would be more clear. However, it has elements of "male cozy' with broad humor about stereotypical car salesmen and mafia, scary fish in the toilet, etc. combined with very dark violence, Chinese triads, and drug lords. I would prefer better developed characters that I really cared about.
Sally (Murfreesboro TN)
"No one believes they're going to die until it happens, and then it's too late." That's the great opening line of this fast-paced mystery. I read a lot of mysteries, mostly cozies and British police procedurals, so this was outside my normal range. There was some graphic violence, but I enjoyed the book very much in spite of it.
Beth (Savannah GA)
Good, Not Great
I LOVE mysteries - all different kinds. I hadn't read Tim Maleeny before and looked forward to a new author, a new style. I would categorize this one as a semi-hardboiled action thriller. Maleeny has created a REALLY eclectic cast of characters and scenarios under the umbrella of "Anything Can Happen in Mexico": wisecracking former journalist turned PI (male); his protector, a deadly female ninja who relaxes by pretending to drown herself; a US senator and his adult children (indulged son and neglected daughter); a really creepy sociopath killer with pointy teeth and a priest fetish; a bunch of soul-less Mexican drug lords who I couldn't QUITE keep straight, and a supporting cast of homicidal foot soldiers and bag-men including a giant with no tongue. And - oh yes, the scorpions, piranhas, giant squid and creative weaponry fit in there somewhere, too.
There's a lot of action, a lot of violence (some of it quite disturbing), and sometimes the plot doesn't quite hang together, but somehow, given all this, I didn't bail on the book, and finished it thinking that maybe I'll try another one just to see.
Anna (Oak Ridge TN)
Sad to say, this book didn't appeal to me at all. There was too much violence, unrealistic "high tech gadgets" and and so many characters it was hard to keep track of them. It didn't hold my interest and I found myself thinking, "okay, I need to finish this book so I can go on to something enjoyable."
I am the discussion leader for a large book group, 25 people, and I won't recommend the book to my group.
If you want a good mystery try reading some by Jefferson Bass. Recently I read "Flesh and Bone" my this author and couldn't put it down.
Helen (Petaluma CA)
There is violence and then there is violence. I stopped reading after 63 pages as I could not justify the graphic detail. I have read many, many mysteries but in a good mystery the journey is fun. Fun to learn about the characters, see the plot develop. This particular use of violence distracted, did not enhance. It was just messy. Sadly, I do not want to know more about Cape Weathers.
Velma (Jacksonville TX)
Anything can happen in Mexico
Cape Weathers is in Mexico looking for a missing person who unfortunately turns up dead. Thus begins a smoothly written, complicated mystery with some action. While this was my first experience with Tim Maleeny's work I found myself quickly comfortable with his writing style and breezed through the book in a couple of days. It would have been sooner, but work got in the way. I thought his most intriguing character was Sally, an oriental assassin, who tweaked my interest and made me wish that more of her story had been told. Aside from some questionable language and violence this would make a highly suitable piece for a quick read or a vacation book.