Cover image for The flip side of life
The flip side of life
Martin, James E., 1936-
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Publication Information:
New York : Putnam, [1990]

Physical Description:
253 pages ; 22 cm
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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The second piece of low-budget sleuthing by former Cleveland cop Gil Disbro (the first was The Mercy Trap, Putnam, 1989) begins with a plain-looking woman who hires him to find a missing college professor and his son. Gil guns up the Chevy Caprice and takes off in slow pursuit. The first stiff encountered is a fellow private dick, an expert in child snatching for custody battles. Soon Disbro is ensconced in deception, and a simple missing-persons case devolves into blackmail and murder. Martin, himself a former cop, wisely avoids letting his tale wallow in procedural waters. Instead, the fast patter and frenzied action receive a stamp of grainy urban authenticity. --Peter Robertson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Martin's sequel to The Mercy Trap should attract more fans to private eye Gil Disbro of Cleveland, Ohio; Disbro is a tough but good-hearted fighter for justice, here on a twisted narrative path leading toward missing professor Alan Gault and his young son, Brandon. The detective meets Alan's sexy sister-in-law, Arlene Hammond, who reveals that a custody battle over Brandon broke out after his mother ostensibly committed suicide. Religious fanatics, the elder Hammonds had disowned their daughters as morally corrupt and declared Alan unfit to bring up his own son. Having hired a kidnapper to spirit away the child, the grandparents keep him a virtual prisoner--but Disbro catches up with them. Alan, however, has already rescued Brandon, leaving the detective to solve crimes tangentially connected with the case: the murder of the abductor enlisted by the Hammonds and another killing as well. This is a gritty, engrossing, unusual mystery. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Martin's prose takes a little getting used to, but once he passes the preliminaries, his style begins to sparkle. Twenty-five-year-old teetotaling private investigator Gil Disbro (a break in the growing trend toward older, hard-drinking protagonists), already divorced and an ex-cop, lives in Cleveland with significantly older Helen, who occasionally sends business his way. This time, his search for a missing professor and his son involves him in kidnapping, murder, child abuse, and blackmail. Plenty of descriptive Midwest settings, action, and seedy-to-exciting characters flesh out the plot. A fitting second to The Mercy Trap. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.