TIMOTHY HALLINAN – The Man with No Time. Simeon Grist #5. Morrow, hardcover, 1993. Avon, paperback, May 1995.


   I have enjoyed previous tales of over-educated LA private detective Simeon Grist considerably. I enjoyed this one much less. Much less.

   Grist finds himself in the middle of the LA Asian gang scene, as the twin children if his Asian ladylove are kidnapped; seemingly by an old friend of the family from mainland China, who aided them in escaping from there many years ago.

   It quickly becomes apparent that the old “friend” is being pursued by an LA ganglord, and Grist is quickly up to his neck in gangsters of various Asian persuasions, all suitably villainous.

   This isn’t a poorly written book. It also isn’t a private detective book. It’s a well-done kick-ass type fairy tale of the Parker/Crais variety, though Hallinan isn’t quite in their league as prose stylist. Grist is assisted by a black semi-legal, and six black brothers who are his friends, and by a youthful Vietnamese gang member who he has co-opted; all entertaining characters.

   The storytelling is fine. It’s a bloody action-packed heroes-against-bad-guys tale with in-depth characterization not a major concern. But it isn’t the book I wanted to read, nor one I expected him to write. I’d have bought an “Executioner” if I wanted to read one.

   Pfui. Color me disappointed.

— Reprinted from Ah, Sweet Mysteries #8, July 1993.

      The Simeon Grist series —

1. The Four Last Things (1989)
2. Everything but the Squeal (1990)
3. Skin Deep (1991)


4. Incinerator (1992)
5. The Man with No Time (1993)
6. The Bone Polisher (1995)

      The Poke Rafferty series —

1. A Nail Through the Heart (2007)


2. The Fourth Watcher (2008)
3. Breathing Water (2009)
4. The Queen of Patpong (2010)

   Poke Rafferty is an ex-pat travel writer and sometime adventurer trying to settle down in Bangkok with his fiancee and their adopted daughter.