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Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Novels) by John…
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Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Novels) (original 1992; edition 2001)

by John Dunning

Series: Cliff Janeway (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,805627,182 (3.87)96
Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he is an avid collector of rare and first editions. After a local bookscout is killed on his turf, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect's spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway's wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge. Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop -- all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. But when prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now, Janeway's life is about to start a precarious new chapter as he attempts to find out who's dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains. Includes information on John Dunning's new Cliff Janeway novel, The Bookman's Promise, coming soon in hardcover from Scribner… (more)
Member:RJD61
Title:Booked to Die (Cliff Janeway Novels)
Authors:John Dunning
Info:Pocket Star (2001), Mass Market Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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Booked to Die by John Dunning (1992)

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» See also 96 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Denver cop turns bookseller
  ritaer | Jul 11, 2021 |
paper $17; pub 1992, read 2017
  18cran | Jun 7, 2021 |
One day, I went to the Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair. One day, many years ago, I wandered around the booths of rare books. Snotty, they were all snotty. I am referring to the bookmen and bookwomen, but perhaps all those pristine first editions were a bit snotty, too.

Suddenly, the room came to life! John Dunning was in the house! It was as if the pope had come into the merchandise mart. People there were star struck, in awe of his presence.

And then a very bored looking man with nary a smile came in, sat, and proceeded to sign autographs. He looked so unfriendly, I swore I'd never read his books.

I didn't know at the time. of course, that he had hosted an Old Time Radio program for 25 years that my dad listened to religiously. I didn't know my mom liked his mysteries.

I fear I may have misjudged the man. I picked up - used - his Cliff Janeway series, all but book one. I finally found the first one at the library so I thought I'd dive in.

And I was pleasantly surprised. This is a pretty good mystery. It's not really my genre, but this book did not turn silly or go where it needn't go. It was good. I loved revisiting Denver circa 1986. I miss that Denver. That really was half the charm of this story.

I am going to continue on; after all, I've got the rest of the books on my shelf.

Cop turned bookstore owner. Dang it. I miss bookstores, too. Makes me wonder if what I have now in Denver will disappear and become nothing but a fond memory someday. Hmmm. Is Starbucks going anywhere? And the Jeffco whale of a book sale? Hope not! ( )
  Chica3000 | Dec 11, 2020 |
[This is a review I wrote in 2007]

**If you like collectable books, you'll enjoy this!**

Brilliant book! The most enjoyable detective novel I've read for ages! The theme (books) isn't going to appeal to everyone, but if you know anything at all about the used/rare book trade then I'm sure you'll find something in this novel to like... I'm now looking forward to reading the rest of the series, starting with "The Bookman's Wake".

The book opens with a death - Bobby the bookscout is found murdered in an alleyway. But who would want to murder a bookscout? And why? Not for money, surely?... bookscouts like Bobby live from hand-to-mouth. But, then, surely nobody would commit murder for a book?... There must be some other motive?

For homicide detective, Cliff Janeway (with a passion for fiction first editions) the hunt for Bobby's killer goes through many phases, beginning with a personal vendetta against the lead suspect (he and Cliff have a colourful history). Midway through the novel Cliff reaches a stage in his career where he eventually decides that it's time his passion for books becomes something more than just a hobby... and with a couple of further murders the hunt for Bobby's killer is re-kindled as the quest becomes a personal one...

Really well-written with a good pace. Plenty of scope is left to the reader's imagination when it comes to the characters. Readers with little interest or knowledge of collectable books may find all the book detail and book price detail too intense, but others are going to love it! ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Nov 19, 2020 |
Entertaining first book in a mystery series. Since it involves books, I was interested. Cliff Janeway is a tough-talking detective who leaves the police force in a spectacular way and opens a trade bookstore in Denver. The story takes place in the mid 80s and apparently at the time, there was a thriving book business -- mostly dealing in used and rare. Pre-internet days, so the physical stores are crucial. Janeway himself is a fanatical collector so this change of occupation is the best way to indulge his passion. He was involved in the murder case of a street person Bob Westfall who did a lot of book selling to make ends meet when he throws his police career away over the thug Jackie Newton. The investigation takes the reader into the behind-the-scenes world of used books and created quite a few characters with interesting backstories. That part of it was fun, although there's a little too much detail in the whole venue. Like knowing/watching how sausage is made - better to stay a little ignorant of the process. Janeway is a good cop and continues his investigation off the record after his own shop is impacted in additional crime related to the first murder. He solves things clue by clue in the old gumshoe tradition and the dialogue is typical tough cop sarcasm - who really talks like that though? Some good twists and turns and the bookstore connection makes it worthwhile. Quite a few in the series, but I'll probably stop here. So many books..... ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Dunningprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bortolussi, StefanoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
To Warwick Downing,
who got me started again,
and
to the Denver antiquarian book trade:
the good, the bad, and the ugly
First words
The phone rang.
Quotations
Then something happened that changed my life for all time.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
John Dunning (1942- ), an American writer of detective fiction. Do not confuse with John H. Dunning (1927- ), writer of business and economic works.
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Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he is an avid collector of rare and first editions. After a local bookscout is killed on his turf, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect's spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway's wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge. Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop -- all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. But when prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now, Janeway's life is about to start a precarious new chapter as he attempts to find out who's dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains. Includes information on John Dunning's new Cliff Janeway novel, The Bookman's Promise, coming soon in hardcover from Scribner

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