Item description for The Devils of Bakersfield: A Jack Liffey Mystery by John Shannon...
Overview Having relocated to a prejudice-stricken oil town from Los Angeles, Jack Liffey and his daughter Maeve are swept up by an increasingly volatile evangelical uprising directed at rebellious teen girls who have been accused of Satanism.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.25 lbs.
Release Date Apr 28, 2008
Publisher Pegasus Books
ISBN 1933648295 ISBN13 9781933648293
Availability 0 units.
More About John Shannon
John Shannon is one of America's leading writers of neo-noir. His Jack Liffey series of novels is one of the most critically praised mystery series in the genre. The Devils of Bakersfield is the tenth book in the series. Shannon lives in Los Angeles.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Devils of Bakersfield: A Jack Liffey Mystery?
Historical "Artifacts" bogus Sep 9, 2008
The story like many mysteries keeps you guessing and the alternate 'you choose' endings are always fun, but that aside I thought this book was poor because as you can see when reading the reviews that people believe these 'artifacts' are legitimate. If you actually read the notes, only about one quarter of them come from an actual named source the others are reimagined from some supposed original sources. I am all for the right of an author to play with facts that is the point of fiction, but don't pass off your fiction as fact. If these 'reimagined' artifacts did have inspiration from some original source then why are these sources not included. When I read the word reimagined all I see is a fancy word for made up. If you want a good mystery read...well anything else.
Ugghh! Jun 18, 2008
This book is truly awful.
I gave this book two stars because its dialog, when it was not obtuse or disconnected, was not as bad as, say, that of an 11th grade English student. I thank God I got it from a library and only had to pay a small fine because it took so long to read (I would find myself reading three pages and throwing it across the room.)
As for the plot, after reading the book, I am still wondering what it was. There did not seem to be any setup for most of the major events in the story--more like the author sat down to write each day and changed course as whim struck. If something just didn't work, he would leave it in for bulk, and take a new path. In the end, the "hero" finds his daughter, for whom he has been searching, finding, losing, searching, finding, then losing yet again, in a church that is attacked by some unnamed and unexplained group that is somewhere out in a fog (literally, a fog). Then, the police break into the church and save the "hero" from a crazed preacher and the book ends. Poof.
I guess the final blow was that The last short chapter, number 22, was an exact, word-for-word repeat of Chapter 21, except with a different title. If this was some sort of crafty and unprecedented literary artifice, it did not work, unless to underscore the need for a good--no, even a mediocre--editor to get rid of the loose ends, dead plot lines, absence of a unifying theme, and so on.
Not an exaggeration Jun 14, 2008
Very interesting and entertaining mystery. And if you think the depiction of what passes for "justice" in Bakersfield is an exaggeration, read Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes' book Mean Justice about DA Ed Jagels and his misuse of power. I live here. It is no distortion.
Accurate and humorous Jun 1, 2008
The author does a great job of flavoring this neo-noir novel with the names, eccentricities, locations, and history of intolerance in and around Bakersfield, California. (Being an outsider who's lived here for many years, his commentary on the "dales" (Stockdale, Rosedale, Oildale...) had me laughing out loud.) Really thought the use of news articles and reports about actual incidents involving KKK, John Birchers, violence against minority groups, worked well.
Fun read! May 28, 2008
First off, this is my first Jack Liffey mystery and one of only a handful of books that I have read of its genre. I picked up the book because I saw that it was set in Bakersfield, the city where I grew up, and because the author was going to be speaking at a bookstore near where I live now.
The book is a quick, fun read. While it has some slow parts, it is generally fast-moving and entertaining, never tedious. The author throws in some literary references here and there which are fun to spot and think about, but in general the book reads more like genre fiction. Sometimes the author delves into deeper issues and hits the reader over the head with them. He and, by extension, his protagonist Liffey, could be a bit more subtle. In a few places Liffey seems to make statements that are somewhat obvious--restating what has already happened. This doesn't further the story and sometimes makes it seem as if Shannon is using Liffey to lecture the reader.
Shannon's treatment of Bakersfield is a bit rough-handed, though in many ways its not that far off the mark. I really liked the historical artifacts that he put throughout the book. His use of historical context and fog were very creative and were a highlight of the book. It was fun seeing staples of Bakersfield like the Marketplace, the bluffs, and Oildale in print.
I'm struggling right now to give this book four stars. I think it's more of a 3.5 star book. It's 4 to 5 stars a lot of the way through, but the ending is just plain bad.
Overall, a very readable book that I would recommend to people who read crime noir and anybody who wants to read a book with a lot of the Central Valley in it.