Review: Where the dead lay by David Levien
Frank Behr is a tough and uncompromising former Indianapolis policeman now making his living as a private eye.
When he finds his friend and mentor Aurelio, the owner and head coach in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy he trains in, lying dead in a pool of blood, he takes it personally. But before he can track down the killers he is asked by a high-end private security firm to investigate the disappearance of two of their agents. He declines, but is forced to take on the job by the city's chief of police, the man who squeezed him out of his job.
As Behr bounces from one seeming dead end to another, attracting violence at every turn, the bits of the jigsaw begin to fall into place and he realises his two cases are very much connected.
David Levien is one of Hollywood's top screen writers, whose credits include Ocean's Thirteen, The Runaway Jury and Rounders. His first Frank Behr thriller, City of the Sun, published in 1998, was an instant success and was hailed as one of the most impressive debuts of the year.
In this second Behr outing, Levien builds on this reputation, delivering raw slices of life from the wrong side of the tracks in the mid-West city of Indianapolis, which usually enjoys a squeaky clean image. A terrific noir thriller with but one caveat -- only martial arts fanatics will enjoy in full the ultra-detailed fight descriptions.