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Monday, March 5, 2012

City of Secretts by Kelli Stanley - a review

It's a man's world. San Francisco in the 1940s. No place for a dame. Yeah, don't tell that to Stanley's hard-boiled female PI, Miranda Corbie, fedora and all.
Two girls are dead, stabbed and left with the word `kike' drawn on their naked body with their own blood. Europe is at war and some factions in the States are dealing with their own anti-Semitic problems. Aryans in America. In this second of a series, following "City of Dragons," Stanley's noir masterpiece takes us into a dark realm of the American historical novel.
With a short, staccato beat, resounding like bullets launched from gangster's machine gun we are led into the world of Miranda Corbie, ex-escort, detective to the stars in the underbelly of the Gayway at The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1940. Corbie breathes in every tune from every juke joint in town, scouring the city with help from a local rag reporter and her Jewish attorney, as they battle to locate evidence to reverse a charge that has led the police to send one of their own to Riker's on a trumped up charge.
Running from an Italian mob boss looking to cut short her charmed life, and one-step ahead of a malevolent police force, Corbie unearths the Nazi's in the backwoods town of Calistoga, just north of town. Lead by an evil dentist, a group of professionals is doing their part to sterilize young Jewish women, by using the guise of abortion clinics.
This book is a blast-from-the-past as Stanley liberally intersperses name brands, musicians, and gangsters from long ago that brings to mind the Humphrey Bogart or Ava Gardner era we have witnessed in the movies. Recently nominated for a Golden Nugget, a special award to be given to the best mystery set in California, I hope this goes on to even more recognition for this very special author.

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