My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Junior Bender has been a successful burglar since he was a teenage boy. However, everyone's luck runs out eventually, and when Junior is contracted to steal a Paul Klee painting, he finds he's been set up, a blackmail victim because of an inconvenient video surveillance system.
A Los Angeles crime boss, Trey Annunziato, needs Junior to protect her new movie project, a trilogy of porn films starring the former child television star, Thistle Downing. Someone is trying to shut Trey's production down, and whether it's disrupting the film set or killing the star, they don't care.
Downing was one of the biggest child stars of her time, but drugs, poor money choices, and parental problems have left her destitute and disillusioned. Junior takes a liking to the young woman and finds that he can't let her, or his 12-year old daughter, Rina, down. Now how can he help her without paying the ultimate price?
Hallinan has written an irreverently, nice guy in Junior Bender. He's a criminal with lots of smooth, intellectual edges. Although divorced, he still loves his wife, and cherishes his daughter. He'll do what's right as long as it falls within his unique moral code. If not, he'll do what's necessary.
Doing what's necessary happens a lot in Crashed and following Junior as he navigates through the land mines of bad girls and worse guys is great fun.
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