Reviews and Comment: The Orange Curtain (2001)


Dick Lochte, L.A. Times, April 1, 2001:

"In describing his sleuth Liffey's search for the daughter of a Vietnamese bookstore owner, Shannon matches the master [Raymond Chandler] in several key areas, notably location, characterization and dialogue. Shannon has done a remarkable update on the Chandler knight-errant, moving him to crisply described streets mean and alien. . .

He's also provided him with a cynical but not despairing worldview that reflects more than a hint of the humanity and political savvy of the heroes who serve the international thrillers of Manuel Vazquez Montalban and Paco Ignacio Taibo. In other words, Liffey is a good man to have around, on either side of The Orange Curtain."


Marilyn Stasio, N.Y. Times, April 1, 2001

"Jack Liffey, a Vietnam veteran whose ingrained decency makes him a natural for tracing missing children . . . a complex guy who leads a messy personal life but has a warm way with strangers. Shannon . . . creates interesting characters with rich inner lives and the wit to express their craziest thoughts with some eloquence."


Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2001

"Shannon pulls off one of those career breakthroughs that make the writing life so interesting. . . The same perfect pitch which captures Tien’s speech patterns also makes Shannon’s other characters glow with originality and energy. Let’s hope that enough of Shannon’s former paperback loyalists will be willing to make him the hardcover star he deserves to be."


Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2001

"...Mr. Shannon’s moving thriller...is set in...Orange County: that highly planned quadrant of the California dream where “the rough edges were all sanded away, there was no urban center, the stores and restaurants were all national chains, and the carefully platted roads wound just so between mini-malls, identical tract homes, and tame imitations of forest strips...

Jack Liffey’s worldview, complex and humanistic, holds a measure of sympathy even for the poor soul he eventually finds at the heart of the book’s homicidal maze: “He’s human, but his head is so full of loneliness that it made him sick.”

'The Orange Curtain,' the fourth book in the Liffey series, is cleverly constructed, freshly written and noteworthy for its bleakly antiseptic Southern California backdrop."


David Delman, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 4, 2001

"Jack Liffey is a gumshoe with a specialty. He finds missing children. It doesn't pay much--not nearly as much as tracking cheating wives for well-heeled husbands--but he's good at it. And there are, of course, psychic rewards.

"The call comes in from Orange County, California's Little Saigon--a bereft Vietnamese father, a beautiful missing daughter.

"On the hunt, Liffey encounters a variety of obstacles in the form of ruthless youth gangs, corporate pirates, and one extremely strange young man who become fixated on him. He gets unexpected help from an exotic, gorgeous, very funny, female entrepreneur, a Vietnamese firecracker. And also from--ahem--Philip Marlow (don't ask).

"This is Liffey's fourth adventure, and if you like lean and literate, check him out."


Publisher’s Weekly (starred review) March 26, 2001

"Readers who like gritty noir leavened by genuine heart and a healthy dollop of erudition will love Shannon’s fourth Jack Liffey mystery. Shannon delivers a tour-de-force climax, the action believably, and beautifully, driven by each character’s needs."


Booklist (starred review) April 2001

"Those new to this superb but relatively unknown series will want to search out the three earlier Liffey novels."


Kirkus, April 2001

"Dead-on characterizations, an ear for dialogue, picturesque descriptions of Orange County’s Vietnamese community, and wry touches. A typically offbeat addition to the Liffey series."


Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser mysteries

"The Orange Curtain is both brilliant and readable (not always the same thing.)"


Thomas Perry, author of Death Benefits

"A smart well-crafted mystery with convincingly fallible characters and an assured sense of the look and feel of Southern California."


George P. Pelecanos, author of Right as Rain:

"For too long, Shannon has been an unsung hero of the modern crime novel. In The Orange Curtain, he has written an intelligent, surprising book, found the heart of his working class characters and delivered a first-rate thriller in the bargain."