Series: A Rare Book Mystery #1
Book merchant Michael Bevan arrives at the Kansas City auction house hoping to uncover some hidden literary gold. Though the auction ad had mentioned erotica, Michael is amazed to find lovely Japanese Shunga scrolls and a first edition of a novel by French author Colette with an inscription by Ernest Hemingway. This one item alone could fetch a small fortune in the right market.
As Michael and fellow dealer Gareth Hughes are warming up for battle, a stranger comes out of nowhere and outbids them—to the tune of sixty grand. But Gareth is unwilling to leave the auction house empty-handed, so he steals two volumes, including the Colette novel. When Gareth is found dead the next day, Michael quickly becomes the prime suspect: Not only had the pair been tossed out of a bar mid-fistfight the night before, but there is evidence from Michael’s shop at the crime scene.
Now the attorney-turned-bookman must find out who wanted the Colette so badly that they would kill for it—and frame Michael. Desperate to stay out of police custody, Michael follows the murderer’s trail into the wealthiest echelons of the city, where power and influence meet corruption—and mystery and eroticism are perverted by pure evil. Unfortunately for Michael, one dead book dealer is only the opening chapter in a terrifying tale of high culture and lowlifes.
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An eccentric main character named Mike has a vast knowledge of rare books. It's because of this that he lands in the middle of a murder mystery. Next problem would be that he's the prime suspect.
Mike is a complex man. He's no angel but he's constantly attempting to right his wrongs. Accompanying Mike is a menagerie of equally interesting and unique characters. There are other bibliophiles along with a movie star and of course a very bad person – well, a few.
I am always a fan of an author who can inject humor at the most inconvenient times. When a moment is too tense there's relief. It's not enough to defuse the situation but enough to draw me closer to the character. This made it harder to put down because as hard as Mike tries at righting wrongs, he manages to get himself in many wrong situations.