The Angel Gang by Ken Kuhlken
The Angel GangTom Hickey lives in Tahoe with his wife Wendy. Their first baby is due in a couple weeks. He does some security work for the casino in the area. He is very happy with his life.
Then he gets a phone call. A San Diego lawyer representing Cynthia Tucker Jones is calling on her behalf. She is in jail for arson and murder of her brother-in-law. Hickey knows Cynthia could have done it – she hates her sister. But she swears she is innocent and has a good alibi. But one person in the group she was with swears she stepped out and talked to a beachcomber. There was enough time she could have started the fire or hired the beachcomber to do it.
Hickey doesn’t want to leave Wendy, but she insists. He had told her about the case before the war that involved Cynthia. Wendy wants him to help her now. He promises to be home in two days. He hurries to San Diego so he can turn around and get back to his wife. As soon as he’s there he starts causing trouble, poking around. He meets with the San Diego mob boss and makes accusations. He can’t find the man who accused Cynthia or the beachcomber. He annoys one of the hit men in another local mob. The sooner he can get this solved, the sooner he can return to Tahoe.
Soon he gets unexpected results. As Hickey is going to his old friend Leo’s home, someone tries to run him off the road, then shoots at him. He asks Leo to follow up one or two questions. He heads to a hotel for the night. There he receives a phone call. Wendy has been kidnapped.
Hickey drops the search in San Diego and anything else he may have planned. He rushes back to Tahoe in order to find his wife. He goes crazy. He takes an unexpected hostage as he tries to find Wendy and get her back safely.
The Angel Gang is the third Tom Hickey novel I’ve read and I still contend this is more of a guy’s series. Even so, I really enjoyed this book. It’s quick paced and keeps the reader pulled in. It takes place around 1950 and Ken Kuhlken describes the environment for the area and the time – music, fashion, diners, and fads. It’s easy to put oneself in the period. Hickey isn’t as hard-boiled in this book, yet doesn’t lose his edge, either. Wendy (from The Loud Adios) has softened him, yet when she’s in danger, the old head-bustin’ Hickey is back with a vengeance.
Hickey is the kind of detective you just gotta like. You’ll like the book, too.
Author provided for review