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Craig's Book Club
Book Reviews

Spotlight on: Lawrence Sanders

Books Reviewed:
Caper by Lawrence Sanders
The Case of Lucy Bending by Lawrence Sanders
McNally's Secret by Lawrence Sanders


To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.


Caper by Lawrence Sanders Lawrence Sanders, Caper

Jannie Sheen is a writer of hardboiled thrillers under various pseudonyms. Unfortunately, sales have gone through the floor and her agent and publisher say it's because she has lost touch with reality--or at least the kind of reality necessary for a logical caper novel.

So Jannie decides to take a break from writing novels and do some writing of another kind: she wants to plan a caper. A "real" caper. She teams up with her friend Dick and they case possible targets, lining up people to help out, timing everything perfectly. They want to do everything except actually go through with it. That, of course, does not work out and Jannie and Dick are forced to actually commit the robbery.

Sanders is excellent at this type of thriller. Mixing equal parts money, violence, and sex (well, maybe a little more sex), he comes up with a formula that is right on for entertainment. Caper is right up there with Sullivan's Sting and The Loves of Harry Dancer for entertainment value. I believe that the proper cliche is "the perfect beach book," although I rarely if ever read on the beach. The book takes a bit too much time to reach its ending, but I was interested the whole way.

This review originally appeared in somewhat different form on Ex Libris Reviews. Copyright 2003. Reprinted with permission.


The Case of Lucy Bending by Lawrence Sanders Lawrence Sanders, The Case of Lucy Bending

Lawrence Sanders has always been a controversial author, and with The Case of Lucy Bending he continues that streak. The title concerns a psychiatrist's pursuit of the reasons why 8-year-old Lucy likes to "tickle" grown men. His search leads him to consult with other family members with surprising results. The ending went a completely different direction than what I had expected and the writing kept me involved all the way through; this was a really quick read.

A warning for those unfamiliar with Sanders: Everyone in The Case of Lucy Bending is obsessed with sex. It practically drips from the pages. But, then again, if one has read other Sanders novels like The Loves of Harry Dancer and Sullivan's Sting, then one knows to expect this. It is in no way gratuitous and is actually helpful in filling out the characters through their feelings about it. There's also a tender love story between two elderly folk that I especially enjoyed.

This review originally appeared in somewhat different form on Ex Libris Reviews. Copyright 2002. Reprinted with permission.


McNally's Secret by Lawrence Sanders Lawrence Sanders, McNally's Secret

Archy McNally is a rich playboy and a sleuth. His father Preston operates McNally and Son, Attorney-at-Law (note the use of the singular) and is the source of the family income, leaving Archy free to philander and operate Discreet Inquiries into clients' cases.

In McNally's Secret, Lady Horowitz's Inverted Jennies have been stolen (Inverted Jennies are the rare stamp with the upside-down plane) and she has filed an insurance claim. Archy is requested by Preston to do a little research and that's the whole plot. You don't want too much going on in a Lawrence Sanders novel. He has to leave room for the inimitable McNally narration, interesting supporting characters, and a healthy amount of sex all around.

I read Sanders when I'm in the mood for a trashy thriller that I can zip through without a problem. The McNally's series is more mystery than thriller, but Archy is fun and his exploits are always good for an escapist romp. Since Sanders' death the series has been taken over by Vincent Lardo, attesting to its popularity.

This review originally appeared in somewhat different form on Ex Libris Reviews. Copyright 2004. Reprinted with permission.


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