This is the third in a series of Monday posts about the four early Deets Shanahan mysteries — “From the Beginning” — just now reissued in trade paperback and e-book formats.
Being a writer is, in some ways, like being a parent. We’re not supposed to have favorites. But I do. And Iron Glove is one of them. I’m not entirely sure why. I think this is the book where I began to appreciate just how much all of the characters take on lives of their own. One character in particular refused to be the man I wanted him to be and his character turned out to forcefully shape the story. It was also the first time I took Shanahan out of his city and the familiar environment in which he found comfort and confidence. It was, for me, a great way to dig more deeply into who he is and what drives him as a private investigator. There is a sense of character evolution from one book to the next. The recurring characters learn from life experiences. While each book is self-contained in terms of plot, reading them from the beginning provides an added dimension — the arc of Shanahan’s life. One way to look at them is that the books that feature him are chapters in one very long book. We are numbering them for those who want to keep them in order.
What the story is about:
Iron Glove is about a woman, found naked and floating in a small lake. She was the wife of an Indiana senator and half of Washington's “golden couple.” Within hours of finding her body in a canal, police arrest a young Latino boxer believed to be her lover. He has motive, means and opportunity. Another dead body later — along with some answers that seem too pat for the P.I. — Shanahan dives into the dirty side of politics, the dark side of passion, and the hideous secrets the killer is desperate to hide.
What the reviewers said at the time:
"Tierney's 'Deets' Shanahan series offers characters of depth and sensuality, and well-placed swipes of razor-sharp humor." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A fine book about Washington politics, international art swindles, murder, mayhem, and a deep dark secret.” — South Bend Tribune
"A series packed with new angles and delights." — Booklist
"Keeps the reader intrigued with (Shanahan's) cogent observations of human nature and his interaction with police officers, his mistress and the various other characters Tierney draws so well." — Indianapolis Star