"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.”
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
I had a difficult time getting into this book. I think it just moved to slow for me. I'm sure it is a great story for readers of noir, but that's just not really my style. Thank you for the opportunity to give this genre a try.
Catalina Eddy is comprised of three independent novellas set in Southern California, across three different time periods. While each story has loose ties to the previous one, they are all set in different cities and told from different points of view.
The Big Empty follows a private detective in Los Angeles in 1954. His estranged wife is murdered, and he is determined to find her killer. This story felt like a trip back in time to the days of noir, and reminded me of the feeling of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia. In terms of setting, this was my favorite of the three stories.
Next up is Losertown, which is a very different story from The Big Empty. The setting moves to San Diego in 1987, and our main character in this outing is an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He’s big on flipping smaller criminals dealing drugs and moving up the ladder to get to the big fish. But his new boss has different ideas of who the big fish is, and soon he finds himself in the middle of a moral dilemma.
Lastly we move into modern day as we visit Long Beach in Portuguese Bend. This one had an interesting twist to your typical detective story – it is seen through the eyes of a forensic photographer. When an undercover cop is shot, the photographer ends up pursuing a case that may have ties inside the department.
I enjoyed the three stories, and Mr. Pyne did a good job transporting me to the 1950s and 1980s for the first two mysteries. The three tales were independent, each with their own characters, but the later mysteries did have nods to characters from the previous stories.
I must say that in all three novellas, I found that I didn’t care as much for the mystery piece, but more about the character’s journey. Each story arc finds the main character facing a personal crisis or dilemma. Their struggle is what makes the story compelling and the pages turn. I also enjoyed the little connections to characters in the previous tales – sometimes learning their fate, other times just a random connection. Just an occasional Easter Egg subtly sprinkled in; blink, and you’ll miss the connection.
If you are a fan of crime novels, you will enjoy this collection. I think across the three stories there is a little something for everyone, each tale is unique in voice and style.
The book was well written but sadly it did not hold my interest, moved a bit too slowly for me.
I wasn't a huge fan of the first two stories. There were so many characters, and I found them hard to follow. They also moved a bit slowly for my taste. I did like the last story though. That one ad good pacing and kept my interest.
I decided this would be a DNF book after the first short story. The writing did remind me of California noir and seemed liked it would make a great movie or TV show, but felt like it was super slow to read. It failed to keep my interest and it took me way too long to even read the first story. The Big Empty was sort of interesting. I kept reading to find out who killed Lovely's wife. Other than that mystery, nothing else really kept me engaged in the story.
I think this was finely written but unfortunately it was not for me.
I was only able to make it through the first of the 3 novellas before my digital galley expired, but I enjoyed the one I did read. It was a solid noir story. I do wish it had been a little more compelling, but it was a good read.
I was able to make it through 100 pages. It was not able to hold my interest.
At 470 pages this was a challenge, but I decided to persevere. Effectively three stories in one, with the most tenuous connections between them.
I found The Big Empty the most challenging of all. I found a male protagonist with the surname Lovely disconcerting.
The English language was of the highest quality and highly descriptive. Some terms were perplexing - to me, a loupe is a magnifying glass. I had to look up the word to make sense of it.
Of the three stories, Portuguese Bend was the most readable and enjoyable, with the paralysed officer pursuing justice from her wheelchair.
I read an advance copy of this book under the Penguin First to read programme in return for an honest opinion. In all honesty, this would not be a book that I would buy from the shelf, nor would I recommend it unless I knew that the person to whom I was recommending it was a committed fan of the film Chinatown,
Although the book was well written, I really struggled to get through it. It is divided into three equally sized but separate parts - set in the 1950s, the 1980s and 2016, respectively - and only marginally interconnected (or maybe I don't didn't realize all the connections!), they each had their charm, but Daniel Pyne never managed to really suck me into either of the stories, although the one set in 2016 was closest to succeed.
I received an advance copy of Catalina Eddy from the Penguin First to Read program. This book is set up in 3 parts each one in a different decade which was a very cool concept to me. I really did like the way the stories were intertwined but was surprised by how the previous stories evolved after we were done looking at them. I liked the stories better as they progressed. I may have preferred the stories to be a little less dark, but then they may not have been as interesting. Overall I would recommend this book as a very interesting read.
For lovers of crime fiction, you get a three-for-one with this book. Daniel Pyne combines three loosely connected novellas to bring the reader on a thrilling ride through three distinct time periods. Spanning sixty years, each story delivers mystery, murder, romance, and betrayal.
This book was mediocre. If I had just checked it out from the library or picked it up, I wouldn't have finished it. The writing was average and I did not find find any of stories particularly interesting. The endings were abrupt and the three stories were only tangentially related. I would not recommend this book.
CATALINA EDDY by DANIEL PYNE
THE BIG EMPTY June 1954
LOSERTOWN June 1987
PORTUGUESE BEND June 2016
Catalina Eddy by Daniel Pyne is a collection of three stand alone short stories that have a tentative connection to each other.
The stories are written in a not quite hard-boiled style liken to Dashiell Hammett with a largess of description and musings of the characters
While using unusual but realistic descriptions of the physical settings along with believable narrative of each character's inner thoughts, Daniel Pyne writes a riveting collection, that must be read closely to get the full effect of the story lines and to understand how each story interconnects.
This would be a collection that I would enjoy reading again.
I received this from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.
Catalina Eddy is a collection of three California based crime novellas, each distinct crime noir, but all loosely linked by a familial relationship between the protagonists. Beautifully written and compelling, each captures a significant moment in time and clearly evokes the best and worst elements of that period of time and its people. The Big Empty is set in the 1950s and has a retro feel as a private detective investigates the murder of his estranged wife. Losertown is set in the Reagan era and we experience the frustrations of an experienced ADA who wants to maintain his sense of fair play and quest for true justice while dealing with a sexy, sarcastic new boss whose agenda is focused on pursuing a conservative political agenda regardless of its cost. Portuguese Bend is contemporary, and although it is clearly a crime story of drugs, corruption and murder, is far more the story of an beautiful, intelligent undercover cop and the crime photographer who falls in love with her right before she is crippled in a shooting.
Initially, it was difficult to transition from 2017 to 1954 precisely because 1954 was so authentic. Pyne also uses abrupt transitions and the feeling that the reader is missing something that will tie things together perfectly as a deliberate device to keep the reader as off kilter as the protagonists.
I admit to some confusion when I went into the second novella thinking it was part of a continuing story instead of an entirely different story that was only loosely associated with the first.
Pyne did a good job capturing the changing roles for women between the three novellas. He has a deft hand at portraying families fractured by crime, choices, and abuse. The endings of all three were a bit abrupt for my taste, but I understand their consistency with the style and material.
Catalina Eddy is not an easy read. It's not candy to be consumed lightly, full of empty calories, but if you are willing to invest some time, it is a very satisfying experience.
Catalina Eddy was very hard for me to get into, and I finally I gave up about page 23 after several tries. I think there were several things that were not the authors fault. I do not enjoy that time period, nor the California setting. Some of the problems I had reading it were related to the author's prose. It did not flow, nor did it have a rhythm that I got caught up in. I find that I create a picture from the words I read and create a kind of mind- movie. Firstly, I found the prose very minimal and not descriptive enough to build a mind-picture of who, what, and where. Secondly, I found all the time dependent slang hard to incorporate – I had to stop and think about what they probably meant and then recapture my mind-picture of what was going on. It made for jerky, stop and go reading which was too much work to enjoy. Thirdly, it felt like a first attempt rather than a polished work, but again I only read the first twenty or so pages. I also never got to like or dislike any of the characters enough to want to find out what really happened.
I struggled with getting interested in this book. After a couple attempts, I just had to say no.
Overall, I found the book entertaining but inconsistent. The first part does a nice job recreating Classic Los Angeles. Not as hard boiled as Ellroy or well plotted as Chandler, it kept me intrigued. The second part was good but that story was done much better by Don Winslow. The third part fell completely flat. The characters were very one dimensional and the plot not intriguing. Overall, I enjoyed it but it looses steam after the first part, the connections between the stories seemed forced and not relevant to each other. I would have liked the first or second part to be fleshed out more and been separate novels.
I wanted to get to this one, but just ran out of time. I hope that I can find it another time when I have more time to devote to it.
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 clichés 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.