Dead Man’s Coast
Set in San Francisco’s Barbary Coast in 1897-98, this mystery portrays Jack London as a struggling author whose former unlawful profession makes him the first person the police contact when undercover work is needed in the seedy part of the city. In this second book of the series, London is hired to protect famous showgirl Belle Conquest’s Rajah’s Ruby, the most valuable stone in the world. As master criminals converge on the area, other famous acts are also being hired to compete with Belle’s show causing speculation about a connection.
King’s background research is evident as people who populated the real Jack London’s life appear, many times frequenting dance halls and clubs also accurate to the time period. Returning from the first mystery is Ambrose Bierce, Little Egypt, and Stephen Crane. Harry Houdini and Carrie Nation are newcomers to the series and add excitement as they battle fraudulent psychics and the evils of alcohol.
Action, suspense, mystery, and a peek into a world normally off-limits make this book fun. Those who enjoy mystery series will be impatient for the next Jack London mystery.