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    Review of DEADLY TRADE (or Dead Men Don't Make Housecalls) by Michael Paulson


    Deadly Trade cover Private Detective Deacon Bishop doesn't especially like the missing person case he's assigned. For one thing, he's afraid his client will kill the man if he finds him. For another, something just doesn't feel right. But Bishop's qualms about this case are nothing compared to the troubles that fall on him when a rival detective arrives in his office with his gun out. Bishop finds himself embroiled in murder, blackmail, and what looks like it might be the beginning of a shakeout in the local organized crime outfit as the Portello family may finally be losing its grip.

    Bishop goes to work, alternating questions with hard fists, to find both the missing musician and to follow clues that might lead to mob leader Frank Portello's missing ledgers. If he can find those--along with the code book that opens their secret, Bishop actually stands a chance of achieving his fondest dream (even fonder than bagging every blond, brunette and redhead in Austin, Texas)--putting the Portello crime family out of business and on death row. Of course, staying alive while he's looking isn't easy--and Bishop quickly piles up a large number of enemies including candidates for governor, mobsters, and a truly dangerous pool-hall operator.

    Author Michael Paulson (see more reviews of mysteries by Michael Paulson.) continues his Deacon Bishop hard-boiled detective series with an action-filled zinger. Bishop lurches from danger to danger, his body carrying more and more damage as he survives but doesn't prosper. Bishop cracks wise, thinks with his fists, and provides a cynical look at Texas politics, corrupt police, greed, and shades of gray.

    Paulson is an active part of a small group of authors bringing back the hard-boiled detective story. As DEADLY TRADE shows, the genre has a lot of life left in it. If you enjoy the hardboiled action of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, Mickey Spillaine's Mike Hammer and Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer, you'll enjoy the Michael Paulson's Deacon Bishop.

    Four Stars

    Approximately 145,000 words.

    Reviewed 10/18/07

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