Canary in the Coal Mine

We rated this book:


If the opening to Canary in the Coal Mine sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Pete Fortunato’s encounter with Lila Alston brings to mind Sam Spade’s meeting with the beautiful Miss Wonderley in the opening scene of The Maltese Falcon. Like Sam, Pete is a hard-boiled private eye, who, again like Sam, is asked to find a missing person, in Pete’s case, Lila’s husband. Pete, an ex-cop with anger management issues and fast fists, finds the husband in a couple of days. That, though, is only the start of a deeper and more dangerous mystery that involves a would-be actor who may know more than he’s telling, and some ugly customers who want whatever it is that has gone missing, no matter what the cost to Pete or anyone else. The tension rises as Pete tries to keep the mob off his back, but fades away at the end when he reveals in a lackluster final scene what really happened. The writing is full of Pete’s asides and throw-away lines, all amusing but overdone. In sum, Canary in the Coal Mine is an entertaining adventure with a fast-talking protagonist, that will appeal to fans of noir mysteries.

Reviewed By:

Author Charles Salzberg
Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 276 pages
Publisher Down & Out Books
Publish Date 18-Apr-2022
ISBN 9781643962511 Buy this Book
Issue August 2022
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller