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Book Review: South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

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South Beach Shakedown: The Diary of Gideon Pike is the third entry in the mystery series featuring music and entertainment reporter Mick Sever, this time set in sunny and sultry Miami. At the request of his ex-wife, Ginny, Sever travels to Miami to search for Gideon Pike, a legend of rock and roll and an old friend of Sever's, who has disappeared after agreeing to allow Ginny to publish his diaries.

Though controlling a music catalog worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Gideon is living a fairly austere lifestyle, leaving Sever to wonder if this change of fortune has anything to do with a Korean businessman who seems to be intimately involved in Gideon's corporate and personal activities. When some of Gideon's associates are subsequently murdered, Sever looks into Gideon's past and discovers long-buried secrets that someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.

The primary problem with South Beach Shakedown is that, with one notable exception, Bruns doesn't develop his characters in any meaningful way, and especially falls flat with the series character, Mick Sever. No matter how interesting a plot may be, if a book is populated with one-dimensional characters, it simply isn't compelling. The exception here is the richly drawn Jimmy Shinn, Sever's nemesis in the story, though even his presence isn't enough to recommend this book.

Bruns favors a choppy style of writing, using short sentences and paragraphs, clipped dialog, and chapters rarely longer than a few pages. For a mystery set in the world of rock and roll, South Beach Shakedown never develops a rhythm of its own.

South Beach Shakedown by Don Bruns

A Mick Sever Mystery
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-933515-02-3 (1933515023)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933515-02-1 (9781933515021)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $24.95

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