Timothy Hallinan and his Ethical Thief
Without getting too encumbered by the plot, it begins with Bender bungling the heist of a rare stamp from a professional assassin. In turn, this sets off a ridiculous and complicated chain of events that only causes things to escalate further up the crime ladder, into blackmail and perhaps even murder. And thus, Junior Bender finds himself caught in the middle of some macabre revenge plot, which wouldn't be all that terrible if it wasn't for the extremely inconvenient timing. As it happens, he is currently trying his damnedest to penetrate the fortress of a studio mogul, the titular “King Maybe” himself, a completely rotten and despicable man who nevertheless happens to be the most powerful figure in Hollywood. With assassins on his trail after the rare stolen stamp fiasco, Junior sees the clock ticking down and the noose around his neck squeezing ever tighter.
Before we go further, I'd just like to assure you that you don't need to read the novels in any kind of order as each one in the series stands on its own. While you might miss out on some development, you'll never be confused as Hallinan always takes first-time readers into account. With that out of the way, let us continue.
The Importance of People
No Seriousness Allowed
With that being said, that doesn't mean Hallinan doesn't take serious care in crafting the plot and mystery surrounding it. The story threads are indeed woven with intricate attention to detail and take us on some rather unexpected rides which, nevertheless, never feel out of place. On the contrary, even the plot twists that take us by surprise feel very logical and natural, but only in hindsight... and that I believe is perhaps one of the, if not the most important quality in writing a compelling mystery. Even under the guise of humour, the story ultimately has tremendous maturity and quality to it.