Umbrella Man (Jack Flippo Mysteries)

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9780399145032: Umbrella Man (Jack Flippo Mysteries)

The fourth in the Edgar Award-nominated and Golden Dagger Award-winning "Jack Flippo" series, pulls the sod back from the Grassy Knoll to uncover the truth about the Kennedy assassination.

Jack Flippo stumbles upon Marty Dufrain, the owner of a few frames of black-and-white film that just might show a second gunman firing at President Kennedy on that famous November day.

In the lee of the triple overpass, overshadowed by the schoolbook depository, squats the Grassy Knoll. It stood at the center of the Kennedy assassination as surely as it serves as the focus for all manner of crackpots and conspiracy theorists today. In his latest mess, Jack Flippo seems to have found his share of them. From Jack's friends--a homicidal con artist making a buck off assassination re-creations in the "You-are-there JFK deathmobile"--to his enemies--an oxygen-dependent ex-killer and his cognitively challenged sons-in-law--Umbrella Man keeps Jack wondering which group he dreads most.

"Doug Swanson does Dallas the way Robert Parker does Boston--from the bottom up." --Carl Hiaasen

"You definitely want to be in Dallas when Jack Flippo's on a case." --The New York Times

Reminding readers and critics alike of Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard, Swanson is "the John Travolta of the comic caper: he makes it all look light and easy and seems to be having a great time too" (Kirkus Reviews).

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Jack Flippo has what might be called an anti-Midas touch: everything he puts his hands on turns to crap. Jack used to be an assistant district attorney in Dallas, but he screwed up so badly (as chronicled in three funny, creepy books--Big Town, Dreamboat, and 96 Tears) that he's been forced to earn his living working as a downscale private detective. At the start of this fourth adventure, Jack is temporarily back in the legal profession--working for a decidedly boring law firm. We know it's only a matter of time though before he'll be back on the meaner streets of Dallas, digging up dirt for a weird assortment of clients.

This time, the action involves the grubby cottage industries that have sprung up in the decades following the JFK assassination. There's the Conspiracy Institute, which "took up a small corner of a forgotten brick eight-story near the Greyhound Station"; and the Grassy Knoll Experience, a tour of the area in a 1963 Lincoln convertible limo driven by an increasingly desperate ex-cop named Eddie Nickles. Jack is thrust into this world after hearing about a legendary 30-second piece of movie film that supposedly shows there was a second gunman. His mission is to prove the existence of the film. He is helped by his supremely strange, artist ladyfriend Lola. They struggle with several stumbling but definitely dangerous villains along the way. And, as usual, journalist Doug Swanson manages to shine a light on the seedy parts of Dallas that are rarely written about. --Dick Adler

About the Author:

Doug Swanson is a Pulitzer-nominated journalist for The Dallas Morning News currently enjoying a fellowship at Stanford University. The author of three other Jack Flippo mysteries, Big Town, Dreamboat, and 96 Tears, he lives in Dallas, Texas, and Palo Alto, California.

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