Liar’s Dice by Gabriel Valjan

Title: Liar’s Dice (Shane Cleary Mysteries #4)

Author: Gariel Valjan

Published on: 14 March 2023

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers | Noir

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Liar’s Dice is the fourth book in Gabriel Valjan’s Shane Cleary Mystery series.

Former cop, veteran, and reluctant PI Shane Cleary is asked to find the nephew of a local crime boss. There’s an international war within the mafia over drugs. Does the nephew’s disappearance have a role to play in it? Moreover, has he switched sides?

Meanwhile, federal agencies stop a local homicide investigation and BPD reaches out to Shane for answers. Shane’s past in Vietnam comes to haunt him when a corpse of a veteran is found frozen in front of the State House. A former army buddy comes to town looking for justice. His presence endangers all that Shane holds dear. He’s compelled to play the game of Liar’s Dice. Can he solve the mysteries before it’s too late?

This might be the fifth or sixth hard-boiled mystery I read so far. I loved the setting, tone, characters, and storytelling. I don’t know why but Shane Cleary reminded of a mystery classic series – Jim Sader by Dolores Hitchens. Some serious hard-boiled/noir vibes here.

A former cop-turned PI acquainted with the mafia, a badass-lawyer girlfriend, a pet cat, and bodies dropping like flies – this book kept me hooked from start to finish. First, Shane is asked to find the missing nephew of a mob boss. Then, he learns one of the war veterans was found dead. The alphabet agencies (two) are in town, and they stop an ongoing homicide investigation, so Shane’s former employers ask for his help.

If this wasn’t enough to keep Shane busy, his former army buddy comes to town looking for answers and seeking vengeance. The feds warn Shane to keep out of their investigation but when has a warning or worse stopped Shane?

I loved the storytelling and the characters. Plot to story development was impressive. Well, it’s not all gore and violence, you know. Humor peppered along – Shane is funny! – makes the read enjoyable. This is an author new to me and I took some time adjusting to the writing, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying every bit of this book.

If you love hard-boiled mysteries set in the 1970s, you might want to give Liar’s Dice by Gabriel Valjan a try.

I received an ARC from Level Best Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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