Saturday, June 26, 2010

Presence of Mind - Edward Cline

Perfect Crime Books is rapidly becoming a force in the mystery small press field. They’ve published a couple of books by Bob Randisi, and now the second entry in a fine new private eye series by Edward Cline is about to come out. PRESENCE OF MIND is the second novel to feature New York PI Chess Hanrahan, who narrates in classic private eye fashion. This novel finds Hanrahan investigating the murder of a fellow PI, the head of an agency who had taken on a case Hanrahan was too busy to handle. Because of that, Hanrahan feels a certain responsibility to find out what happened.

Like a number of other novels, PRESENCE OF MIND is set in the relatively recent past, in this case the late Eighties, just as the computer industry is about to explode, and the case that got Hanrahan’s friend murdered involves an up-and-coming computer company. The complex plot has a lot more twists than that, however, and ultimately Hanrahan finds himself trying to untangle strands that involve political negotiations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, blackmail, business chicanery, and a deadly secret that goes all the way back to the Korean War. There’s also a considerable amount of discussion about intellectualism and political philosophy, a couple of subjects that normally would have me yawning in a hurry, but Cline does a good job of making it all perk along nicely.

Chess Hanrahan is an appealing protagonist, smart enough to hold his own with those who consider themselves his intellectual and moral superiors, wry enough not to take himself or anybody else too seriously, and tough enough to handle the occasional action scene. Edward Cline writes very well, and if you’re a fan of private eye fiction, you ought to check out his work, including this novel.


pattinase (abbott) said...

I really admire this little presses who continue to put out products in these hard times. It's terrific.

Richard R. said...

I'm wondering if "Edward Cline" is a pseudonym. Any idea? It has that ring to it to me, for some reason, as if I've heard or read something like or same that was pseudonymous.

Juri said...

Wasn't there an Edward Cline who wrote some classic horror short stories? In the 1920's or 1930's?

James Reasoner said...

All I know about this Edward Cline is that in addition to his mystery novels he's done a series of historical novels about the Revolutionary War.

David Cranmer said...

I just came home to find this in the mailbox. Now I'm looking forward to reading it even more.

John C. Boland said...

James and other,

First, thank for your fine review of Presence of Mind. It was exctly what a publisher hopes for, because you appreciated the things that set the book apart.

Second, Ed is very much his own person--not a pseudonym. There's a short profile of him at our website. And I believe he has a page at Amazon. We're bringing out a third Hanrahan novel, Honors Due, late is year.

John Boland
Perfect Crime Books

Jeff Perren said...

Ed Cline is the author of the Sparrohawk series, as well as the Edgar-prize winning PI novel First Prize.

Anonymous said...

The author replies:

Richard: No, I'm not even a distant relative of Edward Cline, the Hollywood director of yore. I'm asked that a lot. Nor am I the same Edward Cline who wrote a book on mathematics, "Stratifying Something or Other," which appears on Amazon mixed with my titles. Mr. Boland is right: The name is my own and I'm my own man.

Juri: I never wrote horror short stories, classic or otherwise.

Mr. Reasoner: Thank you for the fine review of POM. I've posted the link to it on Facebook and Twitter, which has generated some interest and orders. I wrote the 4-title Hanrahan series years before beginning work on the Sparrowhawk series, after writing a 3-title suspense series, and before a 2-title detective series set in the 1920's.

Jeff: "First Prize" never won an Edgar. You might think it ought to have, but it didn't.

David: I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with “Presence of Mind. “

Ed Cline

Juri said...

Sorry, I got you mixed up with Leonard Cline who has the classic short story called "Shuffle-Thump, in the Dark", from 1929.

Anonymous said...

Hi, widow of Ed Cline the mathematician here. Writing is good and math is good,too, when it comes to Clines. You are both prolific. Goggle Ed Cline American Mathematical Society. Algebra makes the world go round. A distant cousin to be proud of. His son, Ed Cline III is an electrical engineer. I appreciate that your name is forever entwined with our family in cyberspace.