Review: Part of the Jules Landau Detective Series, the narrative in “Maxwell Street Blues” flows along well for the most part, although my editor’s eyes, even had they been the average reader’s, couldn’t help but notice the editing errors throughout. Fragments can work when sporadically used, but used too frequently and it can become exasperating. Reasonably, however, I can understand it was perhaps the author’s intention to give the pattern of internal thought.
Just the same, it was easy to get into “Maxwell Street Blues” because the author immediately sets a distinct tone and mood. The main character, Jules, is a sympathetic and mostly believable centerpiece giving his first person and occasionally glib account of his investigation into the murder of his favorite “uncle” Snooky. Some of the secondary characters seemed caricatures such as the pretty yet slightly spooky gal pal of the dead uncle, the evil Internal Affairs officer or the secretly sleazy politician, yet that’s perhaps part of the attraction.
Pacing is good and the story is nothing if not methodical as it hits most of the points expected in a crime drama, though half way through I was beginning to suspect Jules’ sanity as he did a lot of mouthing off and prying which would get a body buried with a quickness. It’s an interesting tale, with plenty turns of phrases reminiscent of classic detective stories, a few nice surprises and enough references to Jules feeding his cat raw internal animal organs or details of his own eating and drinking habits to keep you going to the end if only to see why the author kept mentioning them.
Marc Krulewitch takes us on a roundabout yet determined search for the truth in “Maxwell Street Blues”, with many names and scenes that come and go, yet the ending was not unexpected. Coming across rather like a television investigative drama, it’s definitely a worthy read for crime fiction fans.
Description: Grabbing snapshots of cheating spouses and hunting down bail jumpers provides a comfortable living for Jules Landau—until his estranged father knocks on the door. Second-rate con man Bernie Landau reports Jules’s beloved “Uncle Snook” has taken five bullets in the head. The newspapers dismiss the victim as another bean counter for the mob caught skimming off the top. But Jules isn’t buying it.
Sure, his uncle’s accounting practice included shady characters, but the wise-guys loved Snooky and not just for his money-laundering skills. With Snooky you had a devoted friend—a regular hoodlum’s therapist.
From the start, Bernie criticizes his son’s brash approach to the investigation. But despite their conflicts, father and son uncover Snooky’s entanglements in a convoluted world of crooked politics, corrupt police, and drug trafficking. And those who stand to benefit from Snooky’s death reads like a Who’s Who of Chicago power elite.
Series: Jules Landau Detective
Although I currently live in Colorado, my Jules Landau detective series takes place in Chicago where I was born and where my family has lived for generations. “Maxwell Street Blues” is the first of the series and I’m well into Jules’s next adventure which I hope to have out this summer.
Before I decided to write crime novels, I spent many years trying to break into the “literary” markets first with short stories and then with my novel, “The Jewish Deal,” which is now an ebook. I also plan to publish a book of short stories entitled, “Love West of the 100th Meridian.”