Catalina Eddy by Daniel Pyne

Catalina Eddy

Daniel Pyne

Moody, enthralling, and keenly imagined, Catalina Eddy evokes the characters and ambiance of a singular, peculiar landscape with cinematic flair.

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"Daniel Pyne flips all the standards upside-down with Catalina Eddy and in the process delivers a classic California noir — times three. This is Pyne’s masterpiece. I guarantee no reader will go wanting.”
–Michael Connelly

Times may change, but crimes never do, and neither do the people who investigate them. A collection of three loosely connected crime novellas, each set in a distinct era, Catalina Eddy is a gritty, hard-boiled exploration into the immutable police underworld of Southern California. In The Big Empty, an obstinate Los Angeles detective investigates the murder of his estranged wife while fears of nuclear war and Communism grip the nation; in Losertown, a mid-career attorney in San Diego chases down a legendary drug kingpin but chafes against the Reagan Revolution policies of his new boss; and in Portuguese Bend, set in the present day, an undercover cop is paralyzed in a gunfight but determined to solve what may be her last case as a police officer in Long Beach. They are all, in one way or another, stuck in dreary endless loops of love, murder, and the quest for clarity, release, and redemption.  

Reminiscent of James Ellroy’s grittiness and Raymond Chandler’s dark wit, Catalina Eddy is Daniel Pyne’s clever homage to—and skillful deconstruction of—traditional noir storytelling. Moody, enthralling, and keenly imagined, Catalina Eddy evokes the characters and ambiance of a singular, peculiar landscape with cinematic flair.


Advance Galley Reviews

Yes, it's very California Noir with evocative language and grittiness. But, I've read this book before, many times, and done much better. I did end up liking the protagonist of each story, but I rolled my eyes (both physically and mentally) with the 2D characters and predictable story lines. Catalina Eddy is just swirling down the drain.

An gritty but eloquent grouping of three stories, loosely connected across time and through related characters. Pyne did a great job of expressing an overarching sense of noir to the drama unfolding. He also embodies Southern California and each individual setting with a sense of this special brand of seediness. Excellent scene painting. I especially loved the author's writing style and use of vivid, long form sentence structure. It was like each sentence took you on its own wild tangent of imagination. Unfortunately, this style of structure was not totally maintained throughoit all three tales. The first and third story were quite strong, though the middle had me losing enthusiasm for the book. Overall, I would recommend this book to others. I would also buy my own copy to keep as part of my book collection.

The Catalina eddy, a swirling cloud pattern off the coast of San Diego, sets the stage for three loosely connected noir crime novellas. "The Big Empty" takes place in 1954. An atomic test on Bikini Atoll creates surreal mushroom clouds. Isla Lovely, ex-wife of shrewd detective Rylan Lovely, is dead. Was she killed because of something she knew or something she did? Why did Isla have three thick bundles of money and own an Army service revolver? Why did FBI agents have Isla under surveillance? Rylan tries to solve the puzzle. "Losertown" pits Assistant U.S. Attorney General Gil Kirby against new Attorney General Sabrina Colter. Sabrina will stop at nothing to crack a case. Nick Mahrez, a former drug dealer, is forced to wear body wire surveillance and visit his friend Mayor Poole. Sabrina wants to investigate Poole's campaign finances and association with foreign nationals. It seems that Mahrez is expendable. "The Portuguese Bend" uses the talents of forensic photographer Finn Miller. Finn is called to document the death of Korean American Charlie Ko. Charlie is found by his wife Willa. She has just returned from her second tour of duty as a US Marine. Charlie has been killed with Willa's service sidearm. Finn's chance meeting with redhead Riley McCluggage leads to the new duo's dogged determination using photography and forensic evidence to create the scenario proving Willa's innocence. Of the three novellas, I found "The Portuguese Bend" the most enjoyable. "Catalina Eddy: A Novel in Three Decades" by Daniel Pyne was well written. Fans of noir crime will be pleased. Thank you First to Read for the ARC to read and review.

I gave this book 100 pages to get me interested and it just didn't happen. Those 100 dragged! It felt like a chore just getting through them. On to better books :-)

A solid opening and closing with a messy middle. "The Big Empty" fully embraces its rich 1954 setting with a pulpy noir aura and is centered on the strong, well-rounded character of Rylan Lovely, who I would gladly follow through a series of novels. I was fully engrossed in both the mystery and complicated developing relationship between Finn and Riley in "Portuguese Blend," which features a lot of heart. It's a shame that "Losertown" doesn't measure up and drags the book down, presenting too many perspectives and a tale that is difficult to follow. I like how Pyne connects all of the stories through secondary and tertiary characters to make the world that he spotlights feel large and more meaningful.

The noir feel of the first story lured me in, the twists and turns of the second one got me hooked, and the heart of the last story made this a book that I was loathe to put down. There is some copious use of clich├ęs involved, but they work with the story and help create the atmosphere that each story is working towards so I find them easy to forgive. I particularly liked how all the stories have threads that link them to each other without being really obvious about it. It was an extra little detail that helped make this a fantastic story that I highly recommend.

This book wasn't my speed, just couldn't get into it.

Not going to lie, this made me miss by bus stop twice. I've never been a huge fan of short novellas like these, but Mr. Pyne does a fantastic job of sucking you in and not letting go. I felt that they each stand on their own, but are interesting to read together. I'll be picking this one up in print once released!

Catalina Eddy grabs you by the very first pages and holds onto you until the very end. It transports you back into a moody 1950s nor film like landscape and you can envision the characters in almost black and white. I'm a huge fan of short stories so of course I found this to be a very entertaining read and one I will reread this summer so that I get the summer sizzle with this enjoyable book.

Interesting stories. Not sure I would ever pick up one of his books again. Not a big fan of short stories and that is basically what this book it.

 


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