Police Detective John Bekker had it all: a beautiful wife, a five-year-old daughter and a job he loved. Assigned to a special task force investigating organized crime, Bekker got a little too close to mob boss Eddie Crist. As a message to back off, Bekker’s home was invaded and his daughter witnessed the brutal murder of her mother.
A decade later, Bekker is a drunk, living in a rundown trailer on the beach. Institutionalized since the age of five, Bekker’s daughter hasn’t spoken a word since her mother’s death. Life appears bleak and hopeless.
After a hard night of drinking, Bekker wakes up in an empty room, handcuffed to a bed. He’s sick, hung over, and has no idea where he is. A doctor arrives and tells Bekker he will be supervising Bekker’s going cold turkey off the booze.
Several days of gut-wrenching agony pass during which time Bekker undergoes a complete detox. When it is over, he is weak, but sober, and still has no idea who is behind his newfound sobriety.
He finds out soon enough when he comes face to face with Eddie Crist, now near death from cancer. Crist swears innocence in Bekker’s wife’s murder
and has a final wish—to go to his grave with a clear conscience. In an ironic twist of fate, the man Bekker believed responsible for his wife’s death hires
him to solve the decade-old murder.
The outcome leaves everyone, including the reader, breathless.
I’ve read all 4 of the Bekker books. After you read this one, you’ll buy the others.
Great book. Characters have depth and complexity. The story breaks your heart and is hopeful at the same time . I buying the other 3 of this series
I really enjoyed this book and appreciate the twist and turns of the plot and look forward to the next book
Read them in order Great reads
I would recommend this book to others. It has violence and sex,but it also has strong characters that would do anything for each other
A totally different story than what I expected and one of the best string of events and turns to keep you interested and wanting to see the next part. I will read others by the author to see if this was a fluke or his typical writing. If his writing, he has a fan.
The protagonist is very real as are most of the other characters. Mr Lamanda has a way of making them very ….normal.
I read this in one day. It’s a quick read, great for the beach or a snowy day when you’d like to be at the beach. I liked all the characters, and definitely want to continue my relationship with them. I’m glad to find a new series to love. This was a Kindle special, and I’m very glad it was the first book in the series. With the exception of a few typos (lots of “out” instead of “our”), the editing was ok. It just needs some proofing. For me, five stars are reserved for books I would read a second time.
John Bekker is a really likable character, flawed and quirky with a heart. The story moves quickly and is interesting. It’s a good, fast read.
Lamanda spins a terrific tale of vengeance and a cold case, with an appealingly damaged protagonist and a cast of clearly and economically drawn characters. A well-written, ex-cop procedural. I have to wonder, though, about the publication (I think Lamanda deserves better). First of all, there is absolutely no mention of the publisher anywhere – front & back covers, spine, inside. Anywhere. In fact, page 1 is just that – the story begins right there, on the first leaf. Secondly, spell-check utterly failed here. After a few pages I started penciling in corrections. Example: p. 74 – "Special Crimes, an umbrella for term for everything else." "manpower reports, maintenance budged, crime stats". p. 28: "She war brutally raped". So much for robot proofreaders! I am looking forward to Lamanda’s follow-up (book finishes with hero already accepting another case), with better editing.
Lamanda has read all the hard boiled, noir mystery authors and has learned well the elements that make a story compelling and a constant page turner. In this story an ex-cop ends up working for the dying bad guy he thought killed his family years ago to find the real killer. The story is filled with blind alleys, misdirection, invitations to faulty inferences by the reader, and finally a resolution you never see coming. This good read is highly recommended. And you should look for more of Lamanda’s books. With Elmore Leonard gone now, it’s good to see there are younger authors who have honed there craft and can continue the traditions and trade craft of noir crime fiction.
A very great detective story that shows the reader why this author is gaining the popularity he so richly deserves.
The was the first book I had read my Al Lamanda, and I read it because of it’s Edgar nomination. Great book about redemption with Bekker dragging himself up from the gutter.
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. What a story!! I really didn’t know if I would enjoy this book as it really isn’t my normal genre. But once I started it I couldn’t put it down! Well developed characters, action packed and twists I never saw coming! For anyone who loves a good murder mystery you are going to really love this book. I am now a total John Bekker fan!! Ex Police Detective John Bekker is an amazing character and in the beginning you feel as if you are sitting on the beach with him sipping beers and watching the sunset as he drinks his life away. Once the action starts and John is hired to solve his own wife’s murder you meet a number of people who could be responsible for it from Mob Bosses to fellow policemen and here the twists begin. It isn’t until the very end that John figures out who did it and why… absolutely amazing ending!
Refreshing and well written. Our detective follows the breadcrumbs, keeps us guessing and trusts his instincts. Fast paced with well developed characters. A book you don’t want to put down. Can’t wait to read his other books.
Sunset, by Al Lamanda, was an excellent read. The characters were well-drawn and the plot – the search for the killer of an alcoholic PI’s wife – kept my interest. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work and to future John Bekker mysteries.
John Bekker is an ex-police detective who is now a PI and alcoholic. His life fell apart when he was investigating Eddie Crist, a mob boss, and someone came to his home to warn him off. Bekker was not home but as a result of the visit, his wife was brutally attacked and killed, while his daughter became withdrawn from the world after witnessing the attack and lives in a psychiatric hospital. Just when things seem to not be able to get any worse, Bekker is picked up by some mobsters and forced to sobriety. He is placed in front of Eddie Crist who claims he had nothing to do with his wife’s murder. Crist is dying of cancer and as a last wish, he wants Bekker to find out who did kill Bekker’s wife as a means of clearing his name. Bekker agrees to work for him after discovering that Crist paid for Bekker’s daughter to be institutionalized. With the help of some old friends from his law enforcement days, Bekker starts on his journey to the truth while seeking justice for his wife and daughter. There are two things that surprised me about this very well written mystery novel. First of all, I do not typically like PI novels. They are too highly formulaic and the more modern ones are taken up by a vast cast of characters, a highly complex plot, as well as, multiple red herrings to further confuse the reader and add bulk to the book. SUNSET is a PI novel that has a highly linear plot with relatively little complexity and a cast of characters easy to manage and but are also likeable and sympathetic. It is the right length to hold a reader’s interest in a single sitting. I read it in a single night. The intriguing plot twist is that Bekker must investigate the murder of his wife. So he is directly involved emotionally. No wisecracking here. There is much for him to gain. So this is a different type of PI novel and one that I consider to be the best one I read in years. The second thing that is surprising is the fact that this Edgar shortlisted book is published by Five Star Press. This particular publisher caters specifically to libraries and is not typically found in bookstores. This is almost a vanity press used by authors who could not get published any other way. The books tend to be overly long and unedited making them extremely tough to get through. SUNSET is definitely not that. I considered another Five Star book to be one of my favorites in 2009- THE KIND ONE by Tom Epperson. It went on to be published by a mass market publisher making it widely available. I predict the same for this book. The author, Al Lamanda deserves it. He is that good. Larry Gandle Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine
Just finished reading Sunset last night, and I really enjoyed it. I can certainly understand why it is an Edgar nominee. Great characters, griping story, complex interactions–and a little gore. The image of the characters watching the sun set over the ocean will stay with me a long time.