A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks- Feature and Review


While the storm rages over California’s notorious 1994 anti-illegal alien Proposition 187, a young woman climbs to the top of the famous Hollywood sign—and jumps to her death. An undocumented day laborer is murdered. And a disbarred and desperate lawyer in Venice Beach places an ad in a local paper that says: “Will Do Anything For Money.” Private Detective Duke Rogers, and his very unPC partner, Jack Riggs, must figure out what ties together these seemingly unrelated incidents. Their mission catapults them through a labyrinth of murder, intrigue and corruption of church, state and business that hovers around the immigration debate. Along the way we explore the fiery immigration issue from all sides and no one escapes unscathed.



Broken Windows (Duke Rogers Pi)Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks is a 2018 Down and Out Books publication.

An original historical crime drama-

Take a trip down memory lane back to 1994 Los Angles-

In LA the contentious vote over Proposition 187 has added another layer of tension over the city. Amid this turmoil, a young woman commits suicide, jumping from the famed Hollywood sign to her death. This death strikes a chord with private detective Duke Rogers. Although he has gained some notoriety and is even stopped for an occasional autograph, he lost his girl, and is riddled with guilt.

When an undocumented woman, named Marisol, who is working for one of Duke's neighbors, tells him about her murdered brother, he feels compelled to investigate the situation, Pro Bono.

Meanwhile, a down on his luck ex-lawyer places one of those ‘Will do anything for money’ ads in the paper. The job he secures falls into the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ category.

As Duke and his best friend, Jack, begin digging into Marisol’s case, they stir up a political hornet’s nest which is hip high in corruption and cover-ups. The stakes are raised as Duke begins to peel back layers of the proverbial onion. Then the case turns personal…

Wow! I picked this book out on a whim, hoping to help an independent publishing house and their authors. Unfortunately, the book has languished on in my ‘currently reading’ status for almost a year. I felt terrible for neglecting this one for so long, so I forced it up to the top of the heap and started reading a chapter here and there until one evening when I picked it up, I couldn’t stop reading and before I knew it, it was one o’clock in the morning.

Initially I was a little skeptical about this one. Jack, as the synopsis states, is very UNPC. Because I read a lot of older books, I have a high tolerance for politically incorrect language or attitudes, remembering the time period in which the book was written.

However, Jack's attitude hits a sore spot, as the country is still arguing over immigration and it is uglier now than ever. Even by the end of the book, with the softening of his character, and getting a small glimpse of what is behind his veneer, I still had very mixed feelings about him.

That said, the author did an incredible job of creating the time and place, and drawing strong characters, who though flawed, are still sympathetic.

When Duke first takes on the case it seems deceptively cut and dried. Not so. This is a complex and layered story that not only uncovers corruption in state politics, but also reaches the Catholic church.

The way the author connects the case of the Hollywood sign suicide with the death of Marisol’s brother, and the disbarred lawyer is slick and stylish. Once the ball gets rolling, this book is unputdownable.

It’s gritty without being overly violent, it’s poignant, but not maudlin, and has a very realistic outcome. In fact, the plot points out the overall corruption from both sides and all points in between, which is most likely the way it usually works in real life.

The conclusion is not tidy or tied up with a nice neat bow on top. But the reader will feel a sense of satisfaction, nonetheless. The book ends up on a positive note and my fingers are still crossed for Duke, wishing him all the best. I do hope we hear from him again soon!!





Paul D. Marks is the author of award-winning Mystery-Thrillers about imperfect or flawed people trying to do the right thing in a corrupt and unjust world.
He is the author of the Shamus Award-Winning mystery-thriller White Heat. Publishers Weekly calls White Heat a “taut crime yarn.” Betty Webb of Mystery Scene Magazine calls its sequel Broken Windows “Extraordinary”. Though thrillers and set in the 1990s, both novels deal with issues that are hot and relevant today: racism and immigration, respectively. Marks says “Broken Windows holds up a prism from which we can view the events burning up today’s headlines, like the passionate immigration debate, through the lens of the recent past. It all comes down to the saying we know so well, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.”

His short story Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Poll. His story Windward was selected for the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018 by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler, and won the 2018 Macavity Award for Best Short Story. His stories have won or been nominated for multiple awards. He has also been published in Beat to a Pulp, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Switchblade, Hardboiled and more. www.PaulDMarks.com 

(Subscribe to Paul’s newsletter: http://pauldmarks.com/subscribe-to-my... -- and check him out on Facebook: facebook.com/paul.d.marks )

He is co-editor of the multi-award nominated anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea. Two stories from which were chosen for The Best American Mysteries of 2018 and one received a Macavity Award that year.

Though Paul writes about other places, he considers himself an L.A. writer and lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, dogs and cats. He has served on the board of the L.A. chapter of Sisters in Crime and currently serves on the board of the SoCal chapter of Mystery Writers of America. 

He also has the distinction, dubious though it might be, of being the last person to have shot a film on the fabled MGM backlot before it bit the dust to make way for condos. According to Steven Bingen, one of the authors of the well-received book MGM: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot: “That 40 page chronological list I mentioned of films shot at the studio ends with his [Paul D. Marks’] name on it.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.