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Clifford Browder

Author of Dark Knowledge

10 Works 65 Members 25 Reviews 1 Favorited

Works by Clifford Browder

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Common Knowledge

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The eye that never sleeps is the name of a private investigation agency in New York city in the nineteenth century. Its owner, Mr Minnick, is hired to investigate a series of daring bank robberies which the police is unable to solve. He soon narrows down the potential suspects to a single man, Nick, but cannot find any proof that he is the thief, even after using his many disguises and his many contacts to gather information about him. In addiition, Nick soon detects his snooping and decides to let Mr Minnick get to know him better as it will make his triumph even greater. He makes his acquaintance and soon they start showing each other the side of NYC each knows best. Mr Minnick shows Nick the reality of life, trying to get him to renounce robbing banks. Nick brings Mr Minnick into all the places where a lot of money is spent, trying to corrupt him and turn him to his way of life. Discovering the lives of both main characters and their relatives is fun and good reading. The wrapping up of the story, though, left me a little disappointed.… (more)
½
 
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goodwaterreader | 2 other reviews | Jul 21, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Surprisingly enjoyable faux-historical crime novel set in 1870s New York, the time of gangsters, safe crackers, Pinkerton et al. A good proposition marred by a few slight writing faults and a somewhat weak ending, but fun and contrasting throughout.

Sheldon is the self-proclaimed greatest PI in New York, founder (and sole operative) of the Eye That Never Sleeps detective agency, a name that he 'borrowed' from Pinkerton. Sheldon is mostly occupied as is traditional for the time, in following suspected adulterers (of either gender) and catching lost pets. However he also has contacts with the police (what respecting PI doesn't) and following spate of clever bank robberies, he's retained to assist the police as they have no leads. Sheldon, uses his contacts in the underworld and quickly discovers the likely suspect is a new kid on the block Shady Nick, a smooth and flash operator if ever there was one. A little bit of jousting follows as Sheldon and Nick match wits for Sheldon is outmatched when Nick invites him to his residence for 'a chat'. They agree a truce, and as a consequence of a disagreement over style Nick and Sheldon agree on a series of dates to get to know each other's view of the city.

This is the best bit of the novel as we visit various locations across the city from the most elaborate restaurants to the abattoirs and rag-pickers, yet somehow the contrast between Nick and Sheldon never really quite works, and Sheldon does too little to try to convince Nick of the value of living in a city, rather than just visiting the highpoints that Nick prefers. The opening scene suffers from a similar lack of depth,yet it is clear that the author does have talent as many of the interactions with Sheldon and his wife show. Inevitably Nick's attempts to subvert Sheldon come to a crux, and the truce expires. The grand denouement is sadly much rushed, and we never really learn what drove Nick or what became of his spoils.

Fun but not quite perfect. It feels like the start of a series of increasingly implausible stories, and I'm not that interested.
… (more)
½
 
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reading_fox | 2 other reviews | Jun 29, 2019 |
19th-century, mystery, private-investigators, NYC *****

Enter the seamier haunts of mid-nineteenth century NYC. One man is married, short, honorable, a master of disguising himself as various working men, all for good and in his chosen profession and a devoted admirer of Alan Pinkerton's agency. The other is a player, fairly tall, pretty much amoral, an adept planner of felonies, and sneakily vindictive. Follow them around for a while and you decide which one bests the other in a dangerous game.
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Black Rose Writing via NetGalley.
… (more)
 
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jetangen4571 | 2 other reviews | Apr 22, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The story and history were riveting, but the prose was unnecessarily lengthy. Perhaps because this was an ebook sent as a pdf, the spacing and transitions weren't clear and the ghostly italicized exchanges were odd. Without the conversations with family ghosts, the novel would have flowed much better and focused on the history there. However, this was a great story to tell and an interesting one!
 
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CInacio | 12 other reviews | Jun 5, 2018 |

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Works
10
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Rating
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