Pick of the Week: Fields Where They Lay by Timothy Hallinan

fieldswheretheylayCat burglar Junior Bender, the private detective for Los Angeles crooks, hates Christmas, and his Scrooge-like attitude gets worse when a Russian mobster forces him take on a case just three days before the holiday.

After Junior is told that his teenage daughter will be killed unless he cooperates, he has no choice but to investigate why shoplifting has skyrocketed at a run-down suburban mall. The situationTimothy Hallinangets more complicated when one of the shopkeepers is murdered. Determined to find the killer, Junior searches for clues at the mall while painfully hearing The Little Drummer Boy and Here Comes Santa Claus over and over again. Along the way, Junior becomes friends with an elderly Jewish man who plays the mall’s Santa and tells him a moving story about a Christmas miracle. He also gets help from longtime friend Louie the Lost to find his Christmas cheer.

Junior Bender is one of my favorite fictional characters. The wise-cracking burglar and investigator has a big heart and his own code of conduct. Timothy Hallinan has created a funny, memorable character in Junior Bender, the thief with a big heart and a moral streak. I love this series, which starts with Crashed. If you like reading killer holiday stories, In Fields Where They Lay is a fun, suspenseful mystery that has been named one of the best mysteries of 2016 by Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. Check it out!

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