Jun 2, 2009

Book Review: Palos Verdes Blue by John Shannon

Palos Verdes Blue
Palos Verdes Blue by John Shannon, published April 7, 2009 by Pegasus
Genre: mystery

Private investigator Jack Liffey is hired to find Blue, a teenage girl missing in L.A. His investigation leads to some surprises, including a gang of rich teenage surfers, in Palos Verdes Blue, by John Shannon.
" Beatrice would have to pay in the end too, if her sister did. He stared at the classic feminist novels abandoned across her small desk - The Golden Notebook, Jane Eyre, and a couple of Anais Nins. There really are no survivors in a shattered family, he thought."
p. 23
Though the plot outline of the connections between a missing teen, illegal immigrants, and a gang of wealthy young surfers defending their beach territory is a good one, the techniques for writing the novel prevented me from really getting into the book.

There are many points of view, different stories running at the same time, and the switching back and forth from third person to first person narrations had me a bit confused. I wish I could have gotten more involved in the characters, especially private eye Jack and his daughter Maeve.

As far as plot, the book does a good job overall of presenting the problems of the California scene, particularly of young people. Health, gang warfare, undocumented workers, teen sexuality, even California mudslides are covered in Palos Verdes Blue.

Book provided by the author/publisher, for my objective review.


  1. Oh, a teaser with a literary twist - I like that!

  2. I really like this teaser! It makes me wonder how the sister and Beatrice will "pay" (that's very ominous), and I love the selection of books.

    Thanks for stopping by to comment on my own teaser at Bookishgal.

  3. Thanks for the comment, Phyl. I'm also reading a book by Nevada Barr, another mystery author, set in a national park in Texas along the Mexican border. That's going to be in the mix of books, too! I love mysteries!

  4. Gautami: Yes, the recent books on the blog are very Los Angeles and very current. If you live outside of North and South America, and Central America, these books will sound like fantasy or sci fi! American problems are so unique in one sense! But they are very real and prominent at this time in our society and our politics!

  5. Interesting teaser. Sounds a little sad though

  6. Having just finished PV BLUE, I have to tell you I thought it was a great read & I loved all the different POVs the author uses. I also like the fact that he deals the troubled issues of our times. Jack is a terrific character!

  7. Diane: I'll be taking another look at the novel! I think I was put off by some unnecessary dialogue and the noir aspects.

  8. Dear Bird Dog, Thanks for considering another look. Different strokes for different folks. I like the noir, & have been following Shannon's terrific characters for 11 literary, So CA centric books, filled with the author's concerns about social issues. I find that I'm not all alone in loving PV BLUE. It did get some terrific reviews.


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