The Glass Alibi
by John Burns
There are no mysteries on this journey to hell. You are witness to the crimes dealing the death sentences... each justified by any one of the seven deadly sins.
Enter a glamorous world controlled by an ultra-wealthy San Francisco socialite, and dive into an absorbing character study, filled with envy, revenge, and cold-blooded murder.
Meet North Beach Private Eye Nick Sloan. He seems to walk straight out of a 1930s’ hardboiled novel:
Trench coat? Tick
Heavy drinker? Tick
Tough guy? Tick
Based in California? Tick
If you like Dashiell Hammett’s The Glass Key or are a fan of his most famous sleuth, Sam Spade, then you’ll enjoy The Glass Alibi.
It’s set in 1982, and the greed and ruthless competition of the era is on show. Sloan aside – who lives in a one-bedroom flat – the main characters, mostly women, are extremely wealthy and unlikeable. Theirs is a glamorous world of high society, of San Francisco’s Pacific Heights and the financial district. Of course, there is still room for the odd petty criminal on the make.
Sloan’s world is one of blues bars, diners and strip joints. He’s often there working a case or working up a hangover. As you’d expect, there’s a raft of attractive, shapely broads, some sharp-tongued banter and plenty of violence. The streets are foggy and the story plays in your head like an old black and white movie. It’s cinematic – as you might expect from Burns, a screenwriter.
Sloan is hired to recover a lot of money from a coastal property deal gone awry, and to find women - in order for revenge to be had? But who exactly is this rich woman? Has she really been swindled or could she be the swindler?
There are big characters in this book, such as the princess of an old Bavarian monarchy. In this respect, it’s like Fargo or similar black comedies. The women may have the fine clothes and jewellery, and all the glamour, danger and seductiveness of femme fatales, but they are also functioning alcoholics, fuelled by drugs, greed and revenge. In fact, the only likable woman in this novel is Sloan’s secretary. This is not a criticism of the book. In a world of excess, you’d be disappointed not to find an evil seductress, dodgy deals and extreme punishment. You won’t be disappointed.
And there’s more. Expect murder, kidnapping, slavery, and a memorable scene in a Meat-packing Plant. Gruesome stuff. But there’s light relief too, and it’s a pacy read – all taking place in the space of 72 hours. A time, my I remind you, before cell-phones, when floppy disks were in their infancy.
A fun read and fitting of the genre.
About the author:
JOHN BURNS is the author of THE GLASS ALIBI. He is a full time writer, and the only author ever awarded four coveted REMI awards in a single awards night, in the 52-year history of the Huston International Independent Film Festival. John is also well known for his wholesome, award-winning children's novels.
John produced and directed for the stage at the once famous, Bannam Palace Theatre in San Francisco. He created Radio Mystery.com. His script writing career includes his work with the Executive Producers of, Catch Me If You Can and, I-Robot.
He is a former cable TV Executive, producing the first cable production featuring the Academy Award Winning films of Toho Studios and director Akira Kirosawa.
John’s adult educ
ation includes: The School of Contemporary Music, Boston Massachusetts, creative writing at San Francisco State University, Screenwriting with Professor Richard Walters, UCLA, and Shane Black (Predator, Iron Man Three). John is a graduate of The Hollywood Film Institute-alumni include Quintin Tarantino.
John is married and splits his time living in the historic Bohemian district of North Beach, San Francisco and the beautiful desert oasis of Palm Springs, California.