Monday, October 17, 2016

Big Flies by Keith Hirshland- #review

Publisher: CreateSpace  (August 9, 2016)
Category: Mystery/Thriller, Hard-Boiled Detective
Tour Dates: October/November, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5327-1936-3
Available in: Print & ebook,  238 Pages

After Chester Daniel David, highly celebrated travel writer and hospitality critic, dies in an automobile accident, his son, Leland, is the heir to his prosperous estate. Among the late writer’s possessions are stacks of magazines hidden in an attic that suggest that his stories about his world travels were less than authentic.

As Leland grew up, it seemed as if his father was never home. If he wasn’t at the exotic locations depicted in the various publications, then where was he? And what was he doing?

In a witty mystery that simultaneously follows the lives of the father and son, clues that Chester leaves behind point to notorious unsolved crimes committed within a fifteen-year span:
  • The D. B. Cooper plane skyjacking and ransom demand in the Pacific Northwest
  • The theft from a Caribbean museum of a twenty-four-carat-gold cross recovered from a sixteenth-century shipwreck
  • The inexplicable vanishing of $1 million from the Chicago First National Bank
  • The theft of a collection of priceless artifacts from a Mexican anthropological museum
As Leland unlocks the mysteries surrounding his father’s true life, he finds himself with even more unfathomable questions that he never anticipated asking about his family—and himself.

Reminiscent of Michael Connelly, Nelson DeMille, Nick Hornby, and Terry Pratchett.



Leland has some mysteries on his hands.  While growing up, Leland's father, Chester, was away from home a lot, as a 'travel writer and hospitality critic'.  Tragically, Chester dies in a car accident, and Leland is left alone to try and paste his life back together.  While going through his father's house, he discovers a cache of magazines that suggest his father might not have written his articles from personal experience.  And why, oh why, would Daddy Dearest have left clues to several of the 20th centuries most famous crimes?

The story is as much the father's (Chester) as the son's (Leland), so it is most appropriate that the book is told from both points of view.  Chester lives it, Leland puzzles out the mystery that is his father.

Mr. Hirshland's style is both engaging and entertaining.  There was a recognizable and funny story at the beginning about what happens to just about every writer when they sit down to write.  The 'internal critic' raises its ugly head.  Leland wants to be a writer, you see.  He writes one sentence.  He erases it because it is an example of how 'not' to start a novel, according to an old teacher of his.  He rewrites the same sentence.  Two years later, the novel still consists of only that one sentence!

Thank the writing deities this is not a problem that Mr. Hirshland suffers.  He has written and delivered a thoroughly wonderful tale of mystery and intrigue.  I read a lot of historical fiction and enjoy it most when historical fact is woven into the historical fiction.  I also read a lot of mysteries - and like being surprised not only by the story itself, but by the way that it is told.  (By way of example, I enjoyed Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home the most of the movies with the original cast, because of the unexpected humor.)

Will the author continue to write fiction?  If this first novel is any indication, I certainly hope so!



Keith Hirshland is a sports television producer with more than three decades of experience and an Emmy award under his belt. He produced shows that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Hirshland later was among the first forty people hired by The Golf Channel in 1994. He was in the middle of the action when it premiered in 1995 and provided his talents for the all golf network for close to two decades.

Big Flies is Hirshland’s second book and first novel. He is the author of Cover Me Boys, I’m Going In (Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat), a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. Hirshland lives in New Jersey with his wife and Bernese Mountain Dog.


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Virtual Author Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure how I feel about the novel spanning such a long range of years and having so many points of view... I don't think it would be for me. But it seems like it gives the space for a lot of detail to be included in the novel.