April 12, 2004 12:00 PM


by Jonathon King

After being shot in the line of duty Philadelphia cop Max Freeman becomes a private eye in Florida, but life is no less dangerous for him there. Max works for West Palm Beach lawyer Billy Manchester, who hires him to find out what happened to Cyrus Mayes, a man who disappeared in the Everglades in 1923. Using his street smarts and forensic science, Max sniffs out an 80-year-old cover-up with the help of his girlfriend, police detective Sherry Richards.

Shadow Men backs up its detailed police procedure (King was a crime reporter for more than 20 years) with entertaining, quirky characters: Billy Manchester looks like a GQ model but has a terrible stutter, while Max, who lives in an Everglades shack, is neither standard-issue macho nor overly sensitive like the psychologist-detective in Jonathan Kellerman’s novels. Whether he is climbing down a greasy ladder on the Philadelphia subway tracks or tramping through knee-deep muck in the swamps, you’ll feel right with him at the scene of the crime.

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