Reviews and Comment: City of Strangers (2003)


Booklist (starred review) March 15, 2003

With his sixth Jack Liffey book, Shannon's series is still on an upward trajectory. Between crime-solving and parenting dilemmas, Shannon offers sage ruminations on belief, belonging and responsibility. Liffey is a terrific character--smart, funny, sad, and a keen observer of social strata and the world at large. His journey after the truth is realistically messy, and we're with him every step of the way. If only all mystery novels were this good.


Publisher’s Weekly (starred review) April 7, 2003

Shannon's superb sixth book to feature L.A. PI Jack Liffey explores the complicated ethnic mix of Los Angeles's Iranian community. Liffey finds himself even more lost and depressed than ever…though Shannon is shrewd enough to lighten the reader's load with a sharply observed gallery of pompous adults and touching children.


Booklist (10-Best of the Year list) May 1, 2003

Through six installments in his superb Jack Liffey series, Shannon has been quietly working his way up the shortlist of most consistently satisfying hard-boiled writers. You can see the reasons why in this dead-solid-perfect look at middle-age gumshoe Liffey solving crimes, dealing with his headstrong daughter, and ruminating on belief, belonging, and responsibility. Liffey is a terrific character--smart, funny, sad, and a keen observer of social strata and the world at large.


N.Y. Times, Marilyn Stasio, May 18, 2003

The lost, mixed-up children of wealthy, mixed-up parents have a good friend in Jack Liffey, the private eye in a hard-edged, politically savvy series by John Shannon. This conscientious shamus is once again tiptoeing through the insular ethnic communities of Southern California, this time in search of a psychiatrist's wayward daughter. … Sensitized by the rebelliousness of his own teenage daughter, Liffey has great compassion for the morally bewildered children of divorced parents and fragmented ethnic cultures. And feeling rootless himself, he's not so quick to blame a kid for running away to find himself.


L.A. Times, Eugen Weber, June 15, 2003:

Shannon dishes out L.A. local color dipped deep in moral sauce. He throws in etchings of our ethnic geography, nutty sects of idealists manipulated by grim fanatics, a psychiatrist as demented as but less homicidal than other bigots, members of the local Iranian diaspora with kids liable to turn into pure-of-heart zealots and all kinds of befuddled bods, each with his own liturgy, incantations, and illusions. Liffey is accident-prone, depressed, mixed up and fun to hear.