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Runaway Man    by David Handler order for
Runaway Man
by David Handler
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's something fun and different on the mystery scene. David Handler's Runaway Man reminded me somewhat of Erle Stanley Gardner's hard-boiled Donald Lam/Bertha Cool series. Like Lam, twenty something Benji Golden looks younger than his years, which makes him very successful in tracking down runaways.

Benji's deceased father was a well regarded cop who started a PI agency in partnership with his voluptuous wife Abby - she used to be 'the only Jewish pole dancer in New York City'. In fact, Benji is surrounded by lovely older ladies - in addition to his Mom, there is Rita, an 'eye-popping redhead who's worked nights as a lap dancer to put herself through the Rutgers computer science program.'

As Runaway Man opens, Golden Legal Services is hired by Peter Seymour, a 'trusted advisor to the silk stocking district's uber-rich', to track down Bruce Weiner, a senior at Canterbury College who has gone missing. Though Benji and Abby wonder why Seymour did not use their usual PI firm, The Leetes Group ('the evil empire of the PI business'), they need the money and take the case.

Benji learns that the missing student had secrets. With the help of Bruce's sister Sara ('an adorable little hottie'), Benji manages to track him down, but so do the bad guys. Not only is a huge inheritance at stake but also the race for New York's next governor. As the violence escalates, Benji has help from Detective Lieutanant Larry Diamond (Benji's dad was his rabbi in the force).

Benji is lied to, shot at, and enjoys the attentions of a femme fatale - all part of a day's work for a PI. But, as expected, he does crack the case. Runaway Man is a sound mystery and terrific fun - don't miss this series.

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