South on Pacific Coast Highway

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
366 Pages
Reviewed on 07/29/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

South on Pacific Coast Highway is a hard-boiled detective mystery written by Gary Paul Corcoran. Michael Devlin is an independent private investigator who seems to be handling mostly domestic squabbles and not getting paid very well, if at all, for his efforts. All that changes one evening when he receives a phone call from his old friend Steve McPherson, who's been arrested in connection with the murder of his estranged wife, Connie. Steve had been noticed following her around after their breakup, and the police are considering that stalking and a motive for murder. Devlin sets up legal representation for Steve with his attorney and friend, Jim Harrison. Connie's murder is soon followed by another murder outside Devlin's window. This victim was a potential client who had discussed his fears for his wife's welfare with Devlin. Devlin thinks there's a connection between the two murders, but has little of substance to go on in his efforts to clear his friend.

Gary Paul Corcoran's hard-boiled mystery, South on Pacific Coast Highway, is exciting and fast-paced. Devlin is a self-styled knight in shining armor whose lady-love left 10 years ago, and he's still nostalgic for their time together. The reader gets to see Devlin's world, the Southern California coast, through his eyes: the sandy beaches and blue ocean in stark juxtaposition with the built-up city environs. Devlin's wise-cracks and nonchalance in the face of threats by thugs and police alike often reminded me of Parker's Spenser, but there's infinitely more going on with Corcoran's conflicted crime-noir hero. South on Pacific Coast Highway is a marvelous read, filled with red herrings, car chases, sultry women and an original and very compelling private eye. It's highly recommended.