Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: "13 Million Dollar Pop" by David Levien

Indianapolis private investigator Frank Behr returns in this outstanding third installment of David Levien's series of mystery/thrillers. One night in an underground parking lot, working executive protection detail for multimillionaire businessman Bernard "Bernie Cool" Kolodnik, Frank and his wealthy client are attacked by automatic gunfire. Pinned behind the door of an armored vehicle, Frank returns fire and is able to keep his client protected. While he is hailed as a hero, and receives thanks from a grateful Kolodnik—Frank can't help but investigate the incident himself, and he doesn't understand why the police aren't making more of an effort to figure things out. And when Kolodnik is appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate shortly after the attack, everyone around him is in a hurry to pretend the incident never happened.

As Frank digs deeper into the circumstances surrounding the attack, he finds evidence of crooked business deals and layers of betrayal, and he comes face to face with one very angry and lethal hitman. But the more he investigates, the more danger he finds himself in, danger that has repercussions that affect his very pregnant girlfriend, Susan, and others in his life. Yet Frank is unable to shake his need to find answers, no matter what the consequences.

I am a big fan of David Levien's Frank Behr novels, and 13 Million Dollar Pop is a fantastic addition to the series. Frank is a very complicated and conflicted character, and you empathize with him even as you wonder if he is doing the right thing by pursuing the investigation. Levien definitely keeps you guessing as to how the plot will unfold, and the action is taut and fast-paced. If the book reads like it should be made into a movie, it's partially because Levien is also a screenwriter and director, but that doesn't mean the book isn't well-written. This is a series you shouldn't miss, and Frank Behr is a character who you won't forget.

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