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The Bookman's Wake by John Dunning

The Bookman's Wake (1995)

by John Dunning

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cliff Janeway (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,533307,334 (3.84)48
  1. 10
    Fast Company by Marco Page (benjclark)
    benjclark: If you like John Dunning, allow me to reccomend Marco Page's Fast Company. Out of print, but that shouldn't stop you. It's in a similar vein to Dunning's Bookman series, but set in 1938. Well, it was written in 1938.

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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
An excellent mystery, with a little too much backstory in places.
Cliff gets offered a bounty-hunter job by a low-life ex-cop PI-wannabe and he is all prepared to say no -- except the skip's name is Eleanor Rigby and she is running out on a burglary charge, after breaking and entering to steal a rare book. Cliff is hooked.
The story takes awhile to get going, and the opening prologue refers to a 20-year-old killing spree so you know there's a story buried somewhere, all tied to the rare book. The book covers the history of a slightly-mad printer/publisher who created Grayson Press, a creator of fabulous beautiful books in limited runs up until he died in a fire that destroyed the company. And some books that he may or may not have published before the fire. Truly rare birds. Add in some characters like the sleazy PI, Eleanor herself, a biographer with a monkey on his back, and a reporter with the same monkey, and Janeway has some fun. There are two scenes where the life of the book scout comes alive, one spending a day in Seattle's book biz looking for books and one where some biographical info of Grayson's turns up. You feel almost breathless, just as Janeway does. And somewhere in the midst of all of it is a serial murderer.
The story lags in a few places, including complicated personal stories around the Grayson biographical info, and an extra action scene or two that are unwarranted simply because they do nothing to advance the story. The final wrap-up is a bit too formulaic in delivering some action, but it gets the job done.
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow him on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Apr 6, 2019 |
Cliff Janeway is a former Denver cop turned antiquarian bookseller. The mystery in this, the second in the series, revolves around the defunct Grayson Press, a small press that published limited editions. The owner was a brilliant book designer who even designed and made his own type. The press became defunct when he died in a fire twenty years before the book begins. Now Grayson's beautiful limited editions are extremely valuable. The most valuable being his edition of [The Raven]. When a Grayson book is stolen from a home in Taos, the young woman charged with theft and attempted murder fails to show up in court. When she's found in Seattle, Janeway gets involved by accepting the job to escort her back to Taos. It didn't turn out to be the simple job he expected.

John Dunning was an antiquarian book dealer in Denver for many years. His knowledge of the collectible book business is evident as is his knowledge of how a small press making limited editions works. Unfortunately those two things cause the greatest flaws with the book, he goes into excruciating detail that isn't really necessary to the plot and tires, even bores the most interested reader. I liked the complex mystery and the characters are well done as is the setting. And yes, I really do like the collectible book business angle, I would just like stronger editing. ( )
  clue | Mar 17, 2019 |
This second book in the Cliff Janeway series is as good as, if not better, the first one. As a rare books salesman and an ex-cop, Cliff Janeway is once again led on to pursue an investigation in the book world, for one of the rarest book in the world, 'The Raven' by E.A. Poe, published by Grayson Press. The search for it leads to murders, mayhem, elusive women and family secrets being unveiled. The action is fast-paced, more so than the first one, and, while we take female characters at face value (or think of them as 'honest'), their secrets can create chaos. I highly recommend this second Opus, it's a great Summer read. ( )
  soniaandree | Sep 13, 2018 |
John Dunning was for many years a used book dealer in Denver, Colorado. His protagonist is a police detective who was once a finder and seller of rare books. The appeal - the unique hook used here - is that you will be taken not only on a mystery story, but an exploration of the book trade. Not the internet thing we have now, where you want it, you click it, you got it. Nooo... Once upon a time, somehow almost yesterday, you had to go Outside and Search for stuff. Yeah, like the animals. If you were interested in getting a book, you had to leave your house, however tentatively, and comb through Bookstores (buildings that sold actual books, usually cluttered, a bit smelly in a nice way). For this, I can recommend what is otherwise a competent mystery written by a book lover for book lovers. Specifically, if you're the kind of person who loves to burrow, mole like, all day in used book stores, drooling, delighted, oblivious to the time, something of that comes across within this novel and therefore, you might find something to enjoy in it. I did. And the killer is – haha, just playing with you. ( )
  LeonardGMokos | Nov 22, 2016 |
# 2 in the Cliff Janeway Mystery Series ... and I am completely hooked! Will definitely keep reading this series. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dunning, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bortolussi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brøndum, KlavsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miyawaki, TakaoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nogueira, CelsoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zovko, IrenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jack Kisling of Hairline Press, who navigates
with a steady hand the eddies and shoals
of the printshop.
First words
Slater wasn't my kind of cop.
The young endure and hope, until suddenly they're forty and time isn't what it once was. The old suffer and save their hopes for the real things in life --- a high, dry present and a quiet place to die.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
John Dunning (1942- ), an American writer of detective fiction
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671567829, Mass Market Paperback)

The sequel to the popular Booked to Die. Cliff Janeway, Denver cop-turned-book-dealer, finds himself chasing down a charming young fugitive named Eleanor Rigby, who has stolen a rare copy of Poe's "The Raven" for reasons of her own. Trouble follows, and Eleanor disappears into a city filled with people who want the book, and don't care what they have to do to get it. Stuffed with fascinating book lore, this mystery is a bibliophile's dream.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Cliff Janeway goes to Seattle in search of a fugitive named Eleanor Rigby, a talented book scout with ties to a priceless edition of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven."

» see all 6 descriptions

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