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The Big Boom (A North Beach Mystery) by Domenic Stansberry

The Big Boom (A North Beach Mystery)
The Big Boom (A North Beach Mystery)
Domenic Stansberry
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Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (May 2, 2006)
272 pages
PDF size:
1415 kb
FB2 size:
1532 kb
EPUB size:
1576 kb
Edgar Award--winning author Domenic Stansberry is known for his intensity---his dark thrillers, thick with suspense, in which the differences between good and evil are not so easy to decipher. The Big Boom is just such a novel: set in San Francisco, at the peak of the high-tech frenzy, just before the technology markets and the California economy all go bust.

  • Aria
I'm glad this is supposed to be a work of fiction because having lived in North Beach (and elsewhere in San Francisco) the picture he paints of the area, the people and the sense of the place at the time he's writing of are definitely not well-baswed in fact.
The Frisco Kid by Jerry Kamstra (if still available) has less plot but more accurate local color, detail and real people than anything I've ever come across.
I was excited to hear about this series and looked forward to reading the books but the first book was quite enough to turn me off the author and any other books he might write.
The author may have known people who knew people who knew people who knew stories but too much has gotten lost to make this more than just a two-dimensional story that doesn't capture anything of the times or the real people.
  • Frdi
If you like film noir type plots with dark and complex characters, this is a good book for you. The mystery itself wasn't exactly surprising.
  • Uanabimo
For San Franciscans, Stansberry just can't seem to get the City right. Although he gets more right than in his first book he still doesn't understand that St Peter and Paul is a church not a cathedral (where the Bishop sits). You wouldn't walk by any mortuaries if you were to walk up Columbus towards the bay and turn right on Green. But a nice yarn. And if yr in North Beach and supposedly Italian where is the food?????
  • Ximathewi
I enjoyed the rich tapestry of the Italian community in San Francisco. I enjoyed Dante, although the character too much a caricature: several comments too many about the amazing nose, for example. But the evildoers are too melodramatic, the characters too thinly drawn, and the outcome too predictable to be suspenseful.
  • Wafi
Following the death of his father six months ago, former cop Dante Mancuso returned to his hometown San Francisco and became a private investigator working with Jake Cicero. Currently besides sipping coffee in North beach, Dante is working a missing person's case that hits home. Barbara and Nick Antonelli hired Jake to locate their missing daughter Angie. Dante knew Angie when she was growing up in this neighborhood and even owns a picture of them when he was twelve and she seven. However, he really got to know her when they were both in their twenties. So though he assumes the capricious impetuous Angie temporarily ran away, Dante will do everything he can just to insure she is okay.

After interviewing the parents who he knows so well, Dante learns that the corpse fished out of the Bay is Angie. He changes his inquiry from missing person to homicide refusing to believe Angie committed suicide as some accept. He begins looking into the late reporter's relationships starting with Michael Solano who just broke with her and Jim Rose who left a voice message, but soon finds each clue he follows up on wickedly lead back to his own past.

BIG BOOM, the second Mancuso private investigative tale (see CHASING THE DRAGON) is a terrific urban noir starring a flawed individual who is unable to let the case go as it has turned personal. As Dante uncovers the last days of Angie, he also can no longer deny his own demons from his past. Fans of San Francisco whodunit thrillers will appreciate this strong entry as Dante discovers as much or more about himself as he does in solving what happened to Angie.

Harriet Klausner
  • Danskyleyn
I have never, in the 25 years I have lived in San Francisco, heard anyone refer to it as "the beach." This alone was enough to turn me off this book. To someone who has never lived in San Francisco, I'm sure they assumed there was an actual beach with palm trees. I was actually surprised that the author lived in San Francisco. The way he wrote about North Beach, it was as though he dropped in for a weekend, took a few notes, got the notes scrambled up, and then wrote this book.
  • Kendis
OK- Stansberry has written a couple of good books, The Big Boom is not one them. The Characters are thin- the outcome is telegraphed from the first chapter- the motivation of the main character is contrived but here is what really turned me off the book- he just makes stuff up to fit the theme of the book- particularly the way the characters refer to North Beach as "The Beach"- that is a complete invention of the author- I have lived in SF for 15 years and I have never heard that and since I read this book about six months ago I have been asking around and not one person has heard this either. It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't make that phony reference about every third page. Why did he do this? I guess it was to make a metaphor for the characters being shipwrecked in their own lives and washing up on the shores etc etc. Like I said Stansberry has written some really good books- pick up The Confession- that is much better. Hey, Ted Williams only had to hit the ball 50% of the time to make the Hall of Fame so I'll cut Stansberry a break......