JV Books, 2019
Robert Klayman is a Californian private eye in G. J. Prager’s mystery thriller Losers Gallery tasked with smuggling a stolen Rembrandt from Ukraine for a shady oligarch. As you can imagine, things quickly go south leaving Klayman to suss out just what went wrong and why while enacting his own revenge. Readers come to know Klayman, out on parole for not having a proper PI license and shooting someone with an unregistered weapon, through Prager’s short chapters effortlessly distilled moving the story along with a steady pace that slowly entices.
Desperate for work (thus his entanglement) but not a push over, Klayman isn’t the kind of hero most would expect. He’s dodgy, less than noble but definitely guided by a sense of justice many readers will find appealing. Since the story takes readers from the bright land of California to lawless Bogota, Colombia to the grim, monochrome of Ukraine, Klayman certainly feels like the perfect fit in each land—shady, but driven. He discovers around him a quality of menace where “A smiling face…might raise suspicions of historical ignorance and unwarranted optimism.” It is grim yet addictive.
Prager’s real gift is in how his prose seems to effortlessly inhabit and reveal his protagonist’s mental state. We get internal conflicts as deep as the external action is as complicated. As with any noir thriller, there is a steady flow of twists, misinformation, and hidden clues readers of the genre will feel very satisfied with. While there may be some rather simple caricatures in terms of femme fatales and dimwitted police, overall Prager’s Klayman makes for an engaging figure. Losers Gallery is an astonishing collection of schemes where Klayman navigates the madness as best he can. For lovers of the genre, there is definitely a sense of multiple factions all competing with each other but the ultimate resolution is deceptively simple (as in most of the best thrillers). Piecing together motivations and machinations, readers will find themselves lost in the story as they shadow Prager’s protagonist.
As Prager’s most recent installment in his ongoing series centered on Klayman, readers of the genre looking for a new authorial voice and detective will be quite happy with what they get here in Losers Gallery.
About the Author
G.J. Prager is an author and lives in Los Angeles. His first novel, The Lesson Plan, was published in 2011. The paperback and Kindle version is available at Amazon.com; an audiobook version, narrated by the author himself, is available on Audible at Amazon.com. Losers Gallery is the second book in Prager’s crime series available in paperback and in a Kindle version at Amazon.com.