The Esmeralda Goodbye

Corey Lynn Fayman

Publisher: Konstellation Press Pages: 297 Price: (hardcover) $29.95 ISBN: 9798986843261 Reviewed: February, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

Corey Lynn Fayman’s The Esmeralda Goodbye is a trouble-in-paradise thriller with high stakes action and a star-studded cast that pays homage to Raymond Chandler.

When young beat officer Jake Stirling keeps famous writer Raymond Chandler from shooting himself at his California home, Jake doesn’t anticipate that Chandler’s gun will become part of a circle of grift, corruption, and cover-up when mobsters, film stars, and FBI Director J. Egar Hoover descend on La Jolla for the racing season. Jake is already dealing with a domineering boss, Wade Lennox; his delinquent younger brother, Danny; and the case that drove Jake’s father, a respected police detective, to suicide.

Jake’s high morals are tested when he joins the search for an expensive necklace stolen from actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, especially since it appears Jake’s old friend Todd DuBarry is the culprit. When bodies start turning up, Jake assembles the signs pointing to an enormous cover-up, but trying to discern the good guys from the bad might cost Jake his career, if not his life.

The prose is swift and up to the task, if quieter than Chandler’s classic hardboiled style. Fayman evokes the era well, particularly the anti-porn, anti-Communist crusades of the 1950s, and the characters reveal themselves in vivid, distinct dialogue. None of the corruption, lies, or prejudice strays outside conventional villainy, and Fayman holds his own on well-covered ground with swift, taut scenes, each delivering a piece of the puzzle that will keep the reader engaged.

The loss of innocence of naïve, handsome, upright Jake is the book’s most poignant element; at the end, he reflects that “The world was corruption and the light, at this angle, illuminated the dust and the grime that floated in the invisible air.” Instead of resolution, the ending offers a cliffhanger to the next in a planned trilogy. No matter. Fans of Raymond Chandler and his inheritors will enjoy this nostalgic spree.

Author's Current Residence
San Diego, California
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