by Gabriel Valjan
March 13-24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Shane’s past in Vietnam comes to haunt him when the corpse of a veteran is found on Boston Common, frozen to death in front of the State House. Then, a former army buddy comes to town looking for justice. His presence endangers all that Shane holds dear.
Shane must come to terms with a side of himself he thought he had left behind. The mounting body count and circumstances compel him to play a game of Liar’s Dice. Can he deceive and detect deception around him? Protect those he loves, while he solves the cases?
Praise for Liar's Dice:
"Gabriel Valjan writes like a poet but his PI Shane Cleary packs a wallop worthy of Mickey Spillane."
Clea Simon, Boston Globe bestselling author of HOLD ME DOWN
"Gabriel Valjan is the godfather of organized crime fiction and LIAR’S DICE is all the proof you need."
James L’Etoile, author of the Detective Nathan Parker series
"Gritty, smart, sharply written, Valjan’s Liar's Dice is a welcome addition to the canon of fine PI fiction."
Reed Farrel Coleman, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of SLEEPLESS CITY
"A fast-paced mystery that kept me flipping the pages, needing to find out what would happen next. Shane Cleary is a complex, brilliantly written protagonist. A terrific read."
Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Never Coming Home
"Warning: Pick up a copy, turn the page, and you’ll be hooked. Liar's Dice ticks the boxes: an interesting tale that’s economical and tight, descriptions that are full and rich, dialogue that’s real, and characters that spring to life. Gabriel Valjan just has a way of making every word count."
Dietrich Kalteis, winner of the 2022 Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for best novel
"Gabriel Valjan crafts a vivid portrait of 1970s Boston to life in LIAR’S DICE. Shane Cleary deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the city's other famous PIs—a haunted but compassionate character who cuts through a swath of Mob crime with Valjan’s trademark wit and style."
James D.F. Hannah, Shamus-winning author of BEHIND THE WALL OF SLEEP and SHE TALKS TO ANGELS
Valjan takes readers deep into the mobs of 1970s Boston. The atmosphere is turbulent and our hero, PI Shane Cleary, is in the midst of it. He's a tough fellow, negotiating with mob bosses. He's the kind of man who works the cases no one else wants nor can be trusted to complete. But Cleary knows people and can find information when others wouldn't have a clue where to start.
Valjan has included lots of information about Boston in this novel. We read about the communities, the social structure, the ethnic influence and historical facts. I found out, for example, that Boston was the last city in the country to end segregation. Since Cleary is a Vietnam vet, as is a newcomer to town, there is also quite a bit about the ramifications of those trained for that war.
Valjan's writing style reflects the reality of the era. The mob bosses often spoke in code. Rough people spoke in a rough way. The dialogue in the novel was such that sometimes I didn't understand the give and take going on and the deals being made. Nonetheless, I liked the deep dive into the dark world of mobs in historical Boston. This is a good novel for readers who like a tenacious and hard boiled PI making his way through a dangerous situation.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
This is the fourth novel featuring Shane Cleary and you can read my reviews of the previous ones: Dirty Old Town, Symphony Road, and Hush Hush.
Genre: Crime Fiction; Mystery; Private Investigator; Noir; Historical Fiction
Published by: HISTORIA
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 292
Series:Shane Cleary Mystery, #4
Book Links: Amazon
Read an excerpt:
Thou Shalt Not Say No
I heard the slap of the Boston Globe on our doorstep.
It was seven-thirty and Bonnie had already kissed me goodbye. It was a kiss. A long, slow kiss to make a man lose his dignity. I begged her to stay home, to play hooky from work and give the boys in the office a reprieve. She told me she couldn’t. I watched her walk out the front door. Her perfume may have hinted of spring but the mercury in the thermometer said winter.
The phone rang and interrupted my trip to the front door for the paper. I answered on the second ring.
“Glad you’re still there,” she said.
“I’m at a payphone on Comm. Ave.”
“I noticed a Cadillac parked across the street when I left.”
“It’s a car that stands out, I’ll give you that, but what’s the problem?”
“The man inside the car. He’s getting out.”
“I thought I was the PI and you were the lawyer.”
“I’m serious, Shane.”
“So am I. Okay, I’ll play. Describe him to me?”
“Six-six. Menacing. Dark winter coat. He’s headed to our door. Wait, he’s stopped.”
“To light a cigarette, but he’s not having any luck. He keeps trying with his lighter.”
“That’s Tony Two-Times? Not exactly subtle, is he?”
“It goes with the job description.”
“Oh my god, Shane. He’s reached into his jacket.” I’d never heard Bonnie’s voice hit that note, not even during sex, though in my defense, this was panic and not ecstasy. We were nearing our anniversary, and I suppose months of cohabitation or what the Census Bureau calls POSSLQ or Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters had eroded her tough exterior.
“Never mind,” she said. “It’s a newspaper. I thought he might’ve had a gun.”
“Go to work, Bonnie.”
I did the rude thing and hung up on her. It’s not that I wanted to do it, but Tony Two-Times, uninvited and unannounced, was not the same thing as the guy at your door with the news you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Tony was a ‘friend’ and the mob always sent your friend to kill you. I moved fast and pulled my .38 out of the holster, hidden under a coat on the rack. I opened the door and kept the revolver behind my back.
The cold air punched my lungs and my eyes watered. I found Tony doubled over, picking up my Boston Globe. When he stood upright, he blocked the wind and the sun. An unlit cigarette stuck to his lower lip. “You gonna invite me in, or what?”
I stepped aside, back against the door. He pressed the paper into my chest. I put a hand over it. He paused before he stepped in. His dark eyes bore into me. “Relax, Cleary, and saddle the Colt you’re hiding behind you.”
“You could’ve called.”
“This conversation is best in person, face to face.”
“If you say so, Tony.”
“I say so. I’ve gotta job for you.”
Tony had tapped one foot against the other to knock off any snow, salt, or sand. He took the cigarette from his lips and pocketed it. He wiped his feet on the small mat, and took off his hat and coat and hung them on the coat rack. I holstered my sidearm and directed him to the kitchen. He walked down the hallway, talking. “You really thought you needed to draw your piece on me?”
“You weren’t what I expected with the morning paper.”
Excerpt from Liar's Dice by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2023 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.
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(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)
Thank you for the kind words and for spending time with Shane.
Thanks for the review! Sounds like a great authentic read!
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