Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Frame Up by James Phoenix

Frame Up:A Fenway Burke Mystery by James Phoenix

Review by Lauren

Copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

Official Summary: In “Frame Up” the first volume in the Fenway Burke Detective series, we find our hero living on board his floating home in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The Queen Anne’s Revenge is a fifty-eight foot steel hulled sloop that is more than sea worthy but that could use a good coat of paint. She’s birthed with craft in much better shape.

Fenway is living alone and nursing his wounds from his recent divorce. He’s drinks too much and doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself. A childhood friend with a shady background approaches him about clearing a man serving a life sentence for a crime his friend says he didn’t commit.

Against his better judgment Fenway takes the case and soon finds himself in over his head… way over his head.

Almost right from the start Fenway doesn’t like the smell of things and finds out very quickly that his client’s a patsy who’s been framed up to take a fall. But knowing it and proving it are two different things.

As he digs deeper, bodies start to pill up and he finds himself up against sinister forces far beyond his imagining, people with unlimited financial resources and International connections with some of the most violent and ruthless men on the planet. Nothing is as it seems. He’s got to clear an innocent man, find the true culprit and somehow stay in one piece.

And the odds aren’t good…Not good at all.

Review: When I was asked if I wanted to review this book, it was mentioned that Frame Up hails back to the tradition of a hard-boiled detective made famous by authors such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I was interested by this for two reasons. One, I took a Film Noir class last semester and many authors of this genre had their works turned into noir films (and even were screenwriters). I actually wrote my final paper on some of these authors, so I was intrigued by them. Second, I'm in a Detective Fiction class this semester and Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep is on the list, so I'll finally be reading an actual novel with a hard-boiled detective. In the end, I haven't read a classic book in this genre- yet - but I was curious about a modern take on the private eye type of detective.

I'm glad I checked out Frame Up because it was an interesting, enjoyable read. I started it the first week I went back to school so the shorter chapters were awesome. I was able to get through them relatively fast when I had breaks during the day. As for the character, Fenway Burke...I really enjoyed him. He does have a romantic interest as the book goes on, but he's still a hardworker and willing to risk his safety to make sure the truth is figured out. He's relentless in that way, even when he would probably be better off not being so.

I loved the cast of characters that surround Fenway. They range in age and occupation, but they are a huge part in Fenway's life and are always willing to help him succeed. Having taken a Film Noir class, I can definitely say the book had aspects of noir. The detective, the romance, the dirty cop(s), the danger and murder.

Frame Up was an enjoyable read. I like mysteries and the need to find out just what happened. This one was easy to read and went fast, which is also a good thing, since I am currently in school now. I don't want to be bogged down by a book with too much explanation or description. Frame Up keeps the pace going, with one new mystery or murder after another.

I'm definitely interested in checking out the next book, due out in June 2013, I believe! If you'd like to read some sample chapters, head over to the author's website.


Liviania said...

You might see if The Grifters is still on sale at Amazon - it's a terrific example of noir. If you're just getting into the genre you're in for a treat.

Candace said...

This is a genre I haven't read much of but I like the noir feel so that aspect interests me. I will have to go check this out even though I cant read it anytime soon.

Jenny said...

Great review, it seems like a really interesting book! x

Medeia Sharif said...

I used to read many detective stories. I haven't done so in a while, but I love them. I like to sink my teeth into a good mystery.

Vegan YA Nerds said...

This sounds really good and straight away I was reminded of the detective/mystery novels I used to read - great review!

Erika said...

Mysteries are my favorite genre - especially in fall - so this sounds incredibly appealing to me. Great review, Lauren!! :)

....Petty Witter said...

Such an interesting and informative post - I had no idea of these authors connections with film noir.

L-Diggitty said...

A detective fiction class? That sounds AMAZINGLY fun!!!! I haven't read a mystery novel in a while... I think it might be time! And it would be perfect for fall reading!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

Sounds good, I'll have to check this out!

Meg K. said...

I've never heard of this book before, but the synopsis and your review definitely grabbed my attention! I love mystery and suspense novels, too, so I have a feeling I'll enjoy this one. :) I'll be sure to check it out.

Great review, Lauren!