Catalina Eddy

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Member Reviews

Catalina Eddy is another unique and well-written crime/noir novel by Daniel Pyne.  The book consists of three separate novellas that are loosely tied together, each taking place during a different decade.  However, all the stories deal with crime and its ramifications.
THE BIG EMPTY takes place in the early 1950s with the dawn of weapons of mass destruction.  A young woman is found dead and our hero, a Los Angeles P.I., wants to know why.  The dead woman happens to be his wife, who dies with a lot of money and a gun next to her.  The locals are on the job as well as the F.B.I.  And so is he.
THE PORTUGUESE BEND offers a different view of a crime novella.  The protagonist is a forensic photographer who is tasked with recording the death of a man named Charlie Ko.  The body was found by his wife, a United States Marine. Charlie was killed by a bullet from his wife’s service weapon. Finn Miller is a forensic photographer who puts the pieces together and explains how Charlie died.  Did his wife kill him?  Read and find out.
LOSERTOWN sheds a bright spotlight on the inner-workings and politics of the Justice Department.  The newly appointed Attorney General in the story, Sabrina Colter is laser focused and will do anything to win. Assistant U.S. Attorney General Gil Kirby is of a different mind.  Sabrina is going after the mayor and wants a former drug dealer to wear a wire.  Who cares if the drug dealer dies, if Sabrina wins. 
I liked these stories. The author switches locations, time, and characters.  CATALINA EDDY is like reading three separate well-written novels, each with a different point of view.  I considered it a bargain that I could read three great stories by one very talented and gifted writer.
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So much love for this book, it was such a delight to read! I requested this book because noir set in California is especially high up on my fiction favorites. The book’s pacing benefits from being separated into three stories set in three decades which are connected by little details which allows them to stand alone. Because the stories are shorter they are fast paced and efficient. There’s not a lot of meandering into the larger world beyond the scope of the focal mystery. I love meandering, wandering stories but when an author does it the right way there is something uniquely beautiful about a tight story that is focused from start to finish on a main plot. Because the stories are set in separate decades, as the reader you are allowed to glimpse into details from previous stories like a cliff notes epilogue. There’s a cleverness to this that doesn’t smack you over the head but rather nudges you on the shoulder reminding you that even after one story ends it continues onward.
The stories of Catalina Eddy have a hard boiled quality but there’s an elegance to them that compelled me to add this into my list of favorite books. I cannot recommend this highly enough. I’m still digesting the stories themselves but I can’t wait to reread Catalina Eddy and am looking forward to more from Daniel Pyne.
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I was given an ARC of this a tad late but didn't mind because I had been wanting to read this for a while. Thanks to PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume for the chance to read. 

Daniel Pyne wrote a great crime novel/ 3 short series of noir tales that tie together over the course of several different decades but the effect from each of the stories reverberate over time. The Big Empty, The Portuguese Bend, & Losertown all take place at different time frames but handle different points of view in relation to crime which is a different take on what I usually see in crime novels. The Big Empty takes place in the 50's and a PI tries to figure out the death of his ex wife. The Portuguese Bend is told through the view point of a forensic photographer being the main protagonist. Finally Losertown gives the reader a look at the US Attorney Justice System. These stories that Pyne wrote are excellent editions to any crime/noir aficionado's reading library.
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This is an inventive and fascinating way to tell crime stories based in Southern California.  This is the dark side of the criminal justice system.  The publisher could have issued these as three separate novellas but then the reader would not have had the benefit of seeing bits and pieces of the first two carried forward.  The characters are not always appealing but they are very real, as are the situations.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC- try this one if you enjoy procedurals with damaged people struggling to make sense of crime and sometimes to win at all costs.
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This is an interesting book that contains three semi interconnected noir stories. It was cool to see the stories shift in time and setting while still maintaining the noir atmosphere. The pulpy noir is a heavy influence, so people who enjoy regular mysteries might not enjoy this book.
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Catalina Eddy comprises three noir crime novellas illustrating that whilst times may change, crime and investigators do not, instead the same murky waters swirl darkly whilst running up against the wretched same old, same old in Southern California. I loved all three stories, although if I had to pick a personal favourite, it would probably be The Big Empty, although I loved the human and political complexity of Losertown, and the grit of Portuguese Bend with the sheer determined willpower of Riley, a police detective having to come terms with being paralysed whilst on the job. Daniel Pyne is a talented writer with a real gift for language and the ability to create a dark atmosphere whilst capturing three distinct eras. 

The Big Empty takes place amidst the horror and backdrop of the US dropping the H bomb on Bikini atoll and a pumped anti-communist fervour in the country. We are introduced to ex-soldier and ex-spook Rylan Lovely turning up to see his estranged wife, Isla, only to find the police at the scene of her murder. Lovely turns PI to find out what exactly happened. There is the drama of his relationship with Lily Himes, a black jazz singer, an improbable event in the era but as far as Lovely is concerned, in a H bomb world all bets are off. Much of the language is staccato in homage to the hard boiled detective tradition with plentiful smart quips. In a compelling narrative, Lovely digs into Isla's life uncovering links to the Church of the Cosmic Evolution and an ex-Nazi scientist described as a monster, but he's our monster and untouchable, irrespective of what he does. He becomes reacquainted with his old friend, the blind Buddy and the nature of his relationship with Isla. 

Losertown is a smart examination of the Reagan era and its War on Drugs and how dirty it actually played out on the ground. Gil Kirby is an assistant US attorney who finds himself have to grapple with the dark politics when he acquires a new boss, a political appointee, the odious Sabrina Colter. She is more concerned with bringing down political rivals by underhand and duplicitous means than overseeing a department tackling the scourge of drug kings and drug crime. Innocent lives are lost as a blood bath ensues thanks to Ms Colter's amoral and ruthless agenda, but this troubles her not one whit. Indeed, she is determined that Kirby continues to follow her agenda by putting the screws on him.

Portuguese Bend is set in the present day and has crime scene photographer, Finn Miller, at the scene of the murder of Charlie Ko. Willa Ko, the wife of the victim is believed by the police to be the killer. Finn is an artist when it comes to photography and assiduously does his job in a way that goes over and above the call of duty. Finn finds himself becoming involved with the mysterious Riley, the girlfriend of a police detective, who he meets in a bar. Riley, he discovers later, is a undercover cop who unfortunately is shot and paralysed whilst on the job. Despite being in a wheelchair, Riley is convinced that Willa is innocent and absolutely nothing is going to stop her proving this, even though it is not her case. Riley and Finn find connections between the murder of Charlie Ko and the shooting of Riley in a investigation fraught with danger. 

These are wonderful impeccably plotted tales that grip the reader with their brooding and compelling narratives. The characters are skilfully drawn, interesting, complex and colourful. I just cannot praise this book enough. Just superb and highly recommended. Many thanks to Penguin Blue Rider Press and Plume for an ARC.
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Thank you.
Enjoyed it.
Will purchase copies for family and friends.
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