Palos Verdes Blue is the 11th novel to feature Jack Liffey, an aerospace technician turned “finder of lost children,” whose investigations send him deep into Los Angeles’ racial and class divides.

In this new story, Liffey is hired by his ex-wife’s best friend to find her missing 17-year-old daughter, Blaine (aka “Blue”). The case puts him in the middle of a turf war on the posh Palos Verdes peninsula, one that pits affluent teenage surfers (“Bayboys”) against the Mexican day-laborers who make their crude homes in ravines between mansions where they’re employed as gardeners and servants. It’s a volatile situation, finally ignited by a stubborn young Hispanic man who’s determined to ride the waves dominated by the Bayboys. As things turn violent, drawing in irate bikers, arsonists, and racist vigilantes, the life of Liffey’s own teenage daughter, Maeve, is put at risk as she tries to help her father.

Author John Shannon grew up in the L.A. harbor town of San Pedro. After publishing four non-Liffey books, he introduced his serial sleuth in The Concrete River (1996). Over the 13 years since, the decent and compassionate Liffey has attracted critical acclaim, though he still has not become a famous figure in the genre. Novelist Dick Lochte opined in the Los Angeles Times that Liffey represents “a remarkable update on the Chandler knight-errant. Shannon matches the master in location, characterization and dialogue.” Booklist calls Liffey “a walking conscience, a bruised crusader who remains an unerring advocate of doing things the hard way on behalf of the little guy” and adds that “Fans of thinking-man’s detective fiction will find much to ponder” in these books.

Shannon’s publisher, Pegasus, has recently begun bringing out the early Liffey novels in trade paperback format, and a 12th installment in the series — On the Nickel — is due on shelves in 2010.

Read an excerpt of Palos Verdes Blue here.

One thought on “Excerpt: Palos Verdes Blue by John Shannon”

  1. Shannon to my mind in the best unknown crime writer in Southern California. I plan to get PALOS VERDE BLUE on my short list as a judge on the LATimes Fest crime.

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