Forge, Nov 2003, 25.95, 315 pp.
Known by employees, clients, and the author's family as the Agency, Weiss Investigation is a San Francisco private detective firm. Owner Scott Weiss assigns Jim Bishop to investigate the questionable flight activities of Chris Wannamaker at a small airport off of Driscoll in Northern California. When Jim arrives in town, he introduces himself to Ray Grambling as Frank Kennedy his new pilot. Jim meets Chris' wife Kathleen, Director of Operations, and quickly seduces her to obtain information.
Meanwhile Weiss investigates three recent deaths that seem connected to only him. Weiss, a former cop, recognizes the signature of his enemy, the assassin Shadowman. Soon Weiss' work ties in to the havoc that Bishop is causing. As the murder count rises and somehow femme fatale Julie Wyant is in the center of the storm if only because Weiss cannot ignore her lure, the two sleuths must stop an enormous murder conspiracy that only the Shadowman could achieve.
Though the conspiracy that ties all the crimes together seems stretched, fans of hard boiled detectives that make Spade and Marlow look like wimps will enjoy DYNAMITE ROAD. The story line places the classic elements of the 1930s sleuths inside a modern day setting. The comparison between the by the book Weiss and the break it even if its okay Bishop is a delight to follow as they disagree about the means to achieve the end. Especially ironic is that the former cannot resist the Mary Astor like Julie while the latter sleeps with any woman (when he is not beating someone up). Fans of the ultra hard boiled detective tale will want to follow the case files of this Agency.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner