Line of Darkness
by Max Tomlinson
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Pub Date 16 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2022
When a German businesswoman in 1979 San Francisco hires ex-con PI Colleen Hayes to find a missing relative, supposedly in town to visit, she thinks it’s a simple job. But she soon discovers that the “nephew” is linked to an international vigilante group hunting down ex-Nazis. Then the body of a mysterious woman turns up on San Francisco’s Municipal Railway, mirroring a murder committed the week before in Buenos Aires where the “nephew” had just been.
Colleen’s search uncovers a World War II banknote and the 1942 SS ID of a German officer long thought dead. When Colleen fails to heed warnings to stop her investigation, her pregnant daughter is attacked.
The so-called nephew is nowhere to be found. The German businesswoman has fled town. Colleen’s search leads her to Italy where the infamous Vatican Ratlines helped escaped ex-Nazis forge new identities around the globe. Deep in the Italian Alps, she uncovers a secret project hatched in a concentration camp. Colleen has no choice but to push ahead if the killing is to stop and justice prevail.
Perfect for fans of Steve Berry and Harlan Coben
While all of the novels in the Colleen Hayes Mystery Series stand on their own and can be read in any order, the publication sequence is:
Vanishing in the Haight
Line of Darkness
Night Candy (coming 2023)
Praise for the Colleen Hayes Mystery Series
“[Line of Darkness is a] tightly crafted crime thriller with writing that hums and vibrates on the page . . . Buy your ticket and get in line, you'll want to be first on this wild ride. —Carlene O'Connor, USA Today best-selling author
“Line of Darkness is an engrossing noir novel that grows darker and more complex under the lingering pall of Nazism.” —Foreword Reviews
"Atmospheric and tense, this one sizzles with twists that entertain and magnetize, whetting the appetite for more." —Steve Berry, New York Times best-selling author
"As beautifully written as it is expertly crafted, [the series] features characters drawn with the touch of a master artist and a story that sizzles even as it scintillates." —Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author
*“[In Tie Die, Tomlinson] deepens the character of his multi-layered lead, Colleen Hayes, an unlicensed PI and ex-con who’s still on parole. Readers will want to learn more about this surprising and pragmatic woman.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Tomlinson's evocation of San Francisco at that time is spot on, and Colleen is an appealing kick-ass detective." —Booklist
“Bad Scene is an enjoyable read that captures the imagination of mystery and thriller readers—and those who harbor hope that anyone in depths of despair can climb out of the abyss.” —Bookreporter
"Max Tomlinson serves up the perfect mystery in this edgy new detective series set in ’70s San Francisco. Colleen Hayes, an ex-con in search of her missing teenage daughter, finally lands her first big case. There’s just one problem: she must find a killer who’s been lurking since the Summer of Love. Not to be missed." —James N. Frey, author of How to Write a Damn Good Thriller
"Max Tomlinson delivers a gritty, gripping story set in a fascinating time. Colleen Hayes is a deeply sympathetic sleuth, all too human. I can’t wait for her next adventure." —Evan Marshall, author of City in Shadow
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Average rating from 35 members
This is definitely a fast paced thriller that I enjoyed. This is the first Colleen Hayes mystery I've read, so her character is fresh and well conceived. I liked the historical reference to WW2 and the Nazis included as part of the plot- as well as the far right fringe group in San Francisco. The flashbacks to a concentration camp where the German teenage girl protects a Jewish child(8 years old) are poignant, and seals their relationship over time. The counterfeit of English currency at the camp provides a major plot point that reaches into the 1970's, where most of the novel is sited.
The story opens where Collen is hired by that German teenager(now a German business woman) to ostensibly find her "nephew," who is that Jewish child now grown and now an assassin of former Nazis around the globe.
The plot thickens when the German woman and Collen wind up in Italy from San Francisco, followed by the Neo-Nazi group from San Francisco that is intent to find and kill her "nephew," the Jewish assassin.
The story culminates in an alpine town where a shootout occurs between the Neo-Nazis, Colleen and the German "aunt." The Jewish assassin is present as a sniper, to kill the Neo-Nazis. When the shootout is over, the German aunt persuades the Jewish assassin(her "nephew) to give himself up and serve time for some of his murders.
I found this ending morally confusing,unsatisfactory, and a bit of a white wash. This nephew was eight years old in a concentration camp and witnessed his mother and grandmother dying at the hands of specific Nazis.
I can't really fathom why anyone would punish him years later for seeking those responsible for these deaths and killing them. It seems so morally convenient for him to give himself up- but made no real sense to me.
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