Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review: Maxwell Blues

Kerry Hammond reviews Maxwell Street Blues today...

Jules Landau is a private detective in Chicago. To say he comes from a well known family is a bit of an understatement. His grandfather was a well known Chicago criminal, and his father has just been released from prison. Jules’ main bread and butter cases as an investigator have not, to date, included investigating murder. As the story opens, however, he is hired to investigate his first murder. To complicate matters, his client is his newly released father, and the murdered man is an old friend.

Charles Snook, aka Snooky, was a long time friend of Jules. He wasn’t just a great friend, though, he also ran a bookkeeping business. Oh yeah, and he cleaned money for mobsters. As Jules begins to investigate Snooky’s murder, he comes across a lot of possible suspects, including a beautiful and unusual tattoo artist, a crooked cop, and a lot of mobsters who benefitted from Snooky’s fancy accounting.

Maxwell Street Blues is the first in the Jules Landau Mystery series. I’d call it a modern day hard-boiled meets noir novel. Poor Jules is a glutton for punishment as he searches for the truth, and I couldn’t help but picture him as a 21st century Sam Spade. I say 21st century because let’s face it, the man has a cat. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that he owns a cat makes him that much more likeable and puts the reader squarely on his side. Jules is not your typical love ‘em and leave ‘em male, either. He’s got a conscience and a heart and I really enjoyed following him through his investigation.

Another thing to the author’s credit is that he manages to take you into the heart of Chicago, while following a private detective as he investigates a murder of a money launderer. Yet I couldn’t place my finger on one clich├ęd phrase that came out of Landau’s mouth. The reader can’t help but expect to hear the word “dame,” but don’t hold your breath. This author knows how to write a great story in the spirit of the master hard-boiled detective novels, with a modern day twist.


  1. This sounds good, I'll add it to my TBR pile.

  2. Thanks for being a part of the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.