Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bookish Thoughts: The Maxwell Street Blues by Marc Krulewitch

"I feared you wouldn't know me." ~ Opening from The Maxwell Street Blues



The Maxwell Street Blues by Marc Krulewitch
Alibi, 2014
Crime Fiction; 240 pgs

Jules Landau is a private investigator, much to his father's chagrin.  His father doesn't understand his decision. Still, recently released from prison, the senior Landau hires his son to find out who murdered Jules' best friend, Charles "Snooky" Snook, a man who was like a son to the senior Landau. Snooky did not exactly work above the law, laundering money and keeping books for mobsters and other not so savory sorts, but he was well liked and careful with secrets.  This is Jules first murder investigation and a lot is at stake, including his reputation--and possibly his life. 

The old-school feel and Chicago setting created the perfect atmosphere for the novel, The Maxwell Street Blues. With a cast of characters to match, including dirty cops, a nosy but persistent reporter, a beautiful and enigmatic tattoo artist, and other rather shady characters, Marc Krulewitch's mystery was an entertaining read.

I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and getting to know Jules Landau himself.  I did not find the character to be as a cocky as the author (and the character) seemed to believe him to be.  Jules seemed to know his limitations.  He didn't let that stop him, however, from pursuing the answers to his questions, even after receiving plenty of bruises as a reminder of how high the stakes were.  I especially liked the interplay between Jules and his father.  The two clearly have a strained relationship and different ideas of their family's history, Jules' father feeling his son should be more proud of his roots and less shame.

There was a lot going on in the novel, and at times it felt like certain aspects of the story were not given the attention they deserved. Or perhaps that is just me and my penchant for sometimes preferring more background and a story that delves deeper into the characters and their motives.  That isn't to say this book did not take on some serious issues--it did to some degree.

Overall, I thought The Maxwell Street Blues made for a fun afternoon of mystery reading.  There's murder, shady politics, questionable ethics, and a romance to boot. The book has a little bit of grit and a lot of personality. While not particularly memorable in terms of story line, Jules and his dad are not characters I will  not soon forget.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Rating: * (Good +)

I hope you will check out what others had to say about The Maxwell Street Blues on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. The publisher provided me with an e-copy of the book via NetGalley for review.



© 2014, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

16 comments:

  1. A series depends more on characters than anything else--maybe the author will have a more memorable story line in the next book, since he knows his characters better!

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    1. Jenclair - Yes, I agree! I would like to read more in the series, especially to know more about Jules and his dad and their history.

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  2. This sounds fun. Even the description has a vintage feel to it! I'll have to look for this one. I hadn't heard of this one so thanks for sharing!

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    1. Katherine - It was a fun read, and I loved that old fashioned feel of the novel. I'm eager to see what the author comes out with next.

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  3. Maxwell Street Blues sounds like a good mystery, but I do like a good background story with the characters myself.

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    1. Naida - I think more background would have made the book stronger, but it was an enjoyable read just the same.

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  4. A mystery set in Chicago? I'm there already :) This (of course) sounds like a book that I would enjoy so how could I not add this one to the TBR list. Great review!!

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    1. Samantha - I couldn't resist that either! I hope you enjoy it if you do read it.

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  5. I totally agree with Jenclair that a series depend more on characters. In fact, that's one reason why I continue with the series, besides the storyline, that is.

    This sounds something I may like. :)

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    1. Melody - I think so too. The characterization can make or break a book for me--and help me decide if I want to continue a series.

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  6. This looks like it has potential. Memorable characters are what keeps me reading a series even if the storylines get old.

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    1. Stacy - I think it has potential and I am curious to see what the author comes up with next.

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  7. Well, reading of an enigmatic tattoo artist, and other rather shady characters, certainly grabbed my attention. Thanks for sharing what sounds like my kind of book.

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    1. Tracy - The characters were a big draw for me to this one. :-)

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  8. Reading this book sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon! Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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