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by Jeremiah Healy
Crippen & Landru, June 2003
272 pages
ISBN: 1885941951

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

CUDDY-PLUS ONE is the latest collection of John Francis Cuddy stories. This collection includes four stories that were nominated for the Shamus Award for Best Private Eye Short Story. In addition to the Cuddy stories is one short legal thriller featuring a female lawyer.

The ability to write a successful short story is under-appreciated. The ability to create a person and situation (in less than 20 pages) that a reader can connect with is a rare talent. CUDDY-PLUS ONE proves that not only can Healy write inviting novels; his ability to write short stories is just as strong. There is something about Healy’s writing style, which although indescribable is engaging and enviable.

All of the Cuddy stories in this collection feature the Cuddy from the first mystery, Blunt Darts. As the series progressed Cuddy grew as a character but these short stories have him frozen in time. John Francis Cuddy is a private investigator located in Boston. His wife, Beth, died young of cancer but he still visits her grave and talks with her. He is a Vietnam vet who does not talk about his experiences during the war. All of the stories featured in this book demonstrate Cuddy’s character and personal opinions. He is willing to let the guilty go free when it is for the greater good. Justice is a vital part of a successful society; yet, it is not always right or fair. He is cynical; yet, he still wants to help the innocent and defenseless. In short, Cuddy is everything one could want in a hero.

One of the stories contained within this book is not a Cuddy mystery. DECOYS features Mairead O'Clare. She is a lawyer working in Boston. Like Cuddy, she is somewhat disillusioned; yet, has chosen a profession that helps people. She is tough, independent and levelheaded enough not to get in stupid situations. O'Clare is such an unique character, that this story should even appeal to those who dislike legal thrillers.

Although his fans still wait for another John Francis Cuddy book, CUDDY-PLUS ONE helps make the wait less painful. In addition, the story about Mairead O'Clare should help turn readers to Jeremiah Healy's legal thrillers, which are written under the pseudonym Terry Devane.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, August 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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