Suspense Sunday #14

Every Sunday I feature a title from an often overlooked genre: Suspense!These are books I’ve read and highly recommend to anyone that loves agood mystery or crime story, sometimes with a little humor thrown in!

Today’s feature title is: Shadow of a Broken Man (A Mongo Mystery #1) by George C. Chesbro

Meet Dr. Robert Frederickson, or “Mongo” to his friends. He’s a former circus tumbler, black belt in karate, doctor of Criminology, and professor at a New York City university. And he’s quite an unusual fellow as well, not only because he’s a private investigator but also because he’s a dwarf… When Mongo is asked to investigate a new building that has been hailed as a triumph of design, it seems like a relatively simple matter. The only strange thing is that the building’s design matches the style of a famous architect who died years before. When Mongo begins to explore the possibility that the architect may not have died at all, his case becomes more complex. CIA agents, British spies, United Nations delegates and Russian torturers all begin to converge on Mongo, some willing to do anything to learn what he knows, others willing to kill Mongo to protect their secrets.Shadow of a Broken Man is the first in a series of Mongo adventures. Filled with intrigue and fantastic twists and turns, it’s a delightful introduction to a terrific series. Mongo is a appealing character who’s every bit as fascinating as the cases he investigates. Fans of the Espionage thrillers and hard-boiled detectives will find much to enjoy in this suspenseful outing.

*George C. Chesbro passed away in 2008, and I certainly mourned the loss of what I consider one of the most talented mystery writers of all time. I absolutely adore this series. Mongo’s stories are entertaining adventures but they’re also intelligently written, and the wonderful Mongo will break your heart. Mr. Chesbro worked with troubled children, and perhaps that’s part of what gave him such a sensitive and empathic perspective into the human condition. The Mongo mysteries were also some of the first mystery novels to feature occult and science fiction elements, and were described as “Raymond Chandler meets Stephen King by way of Alice ‘s looking glass.”

*From his bio on Mysterical_E: One day, having taken note of the prevalence of disabled sleuths on television, like wheelchair-bound policeman Bob Ironside, blind insurance investigator Mike Longstreet, and overweight private eye Frank Cannon, Chesbro whimsically conceived of a detective who was a dwarf. He began a satirical story about the diminutive sleuth, largely to purge himself of a notion that he regarded as rather absurd and silly, but, as he later put it, “Halfway through, I discovered a key to the man’s character was a simple quest to be taken seriously, for dignity. That touched me, and I started over again, this time doing it ‘straight’ (or as straight as I’m able). I gave Mongo dignity, and in return he gave me a career.”

Luckily, he gave us 14 books in the Mongo series (actually 15, as there is a French release), as well as other novels featuring characters from the Mongo universe, and a few standalone novels.  Some early Mongo mysteries are fairly hard to find, as they are out of print (yes, I have them all, but you’d have to physically disable me and pry them from my hands), however, you can usually find them floating around Ebay and from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The link I’ve provided is for B&N, which has them in stock (hardcover). I can tell you that once you read Shadow of a Broken Man, you’ll do whatever you can to get your hands on the rest!

Mr. Chesbro’s Website

Purchase Shadow of a Broken Man  Barnes & Noble

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