Review

The Tin Collectors

by

The
biographical sketch on the inside back cover of THE TIN COLLECTORS,
Stephen J. Cannell's latest novel, indicates that he has had a 35
year career. This brought me up a bit short; he can't have been in
"The Biz" for 35 years --- could he? I thought about it for a
moment, started counting, quickly ran out of fingers and toes, got
out the calculator and...son of a gun, 35 years might be a bit
light. Movie scripts, television series, and now novels. The Man
has done it all, and done it well. And while Cannell has been a
major force in television for decades, his forays into the
publishing arena have been fairly recent. He has, however, brought
the same professionalism and skills that he infused into his
television creations to the printed page. Cannell's first novel,
THE PLAN, was good; he has progressively gotten better, making each
successive novel substantially different in setting and plot from
the last.
It
is merely a point of preference that I enjoy mostly those of
Cannell's novels that are set close to home. THE TIN COLLECTORS
more than adequately fits that description, being set almost
entirely in Los Angeles and southern California (except for a
brief, but significant, foray into south Florida). LAPD Police
Detective Shane Scully receives a late night call from Barbara
Molar, the wife of Scully's ex-partner Ray Molar. She is frantic;
Ray is in a rage and is beating her. She begs Scully to come over
and try to calm her husband down. Scully, though initially
reluctant, is concerned and goes to the Molars' home. Molar,
however, is enraged to see his ex-partner and attacks him as well.
Scully, in self-defense, shoots and kills Molar in a by-the-numbers
incident. Unfortunately for Scully, Molar was a well-liked, almost
legendary cop.
Scully almost immediately becomes a pariah on the force and is
inexplicably made the target of an internal affairs investigation.
Making matters worse is the fact that Alexa Hamilton, once the IAD
Top Gun, is brought back to handle the investigation. There is a
history here; one of the few cases Ms. Hamilton lost involved
Scully, and she is itching to even the score. Complicating matters
is that Scully has been supervising Chooch Sandoval, the troubled
15-year-old son of a friend, who is one careless act away from
juvenile detention. With everyone seemingly against him, Scully
begins an investigation of his own to try to determine what Ray
Molar was into. He soon discovers that Molar was apparently on a
special assignment and that some of the evidence that Molar
gathered is now missing --- evidence that now is believed to be in
the possession of Shane Scully. Scully also discovers that his
former partner was involved in matters that reveal corruption to be
present in the highest levels of the LAPD --- and beyond. No one
believes Scully --- at first. Then he receives some assistance from
a very unexpected source. He is, however, putting himself and
Chooch into terrible danger.

If
Cannell continues to write books of the caliber of THE TIN
COLLECTORS, he may soon find himself known as an author who also
creates television series, rather than the converse. THE TIN
COLLECTORS demonstrates Cannell's ability to meld believable and
sympathetic characters into a dynamic plotline, while moving things
along at a frenetic, suspenseful pace. Very highly
recommended.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

The Tin Collectors
by

  • Publication Date: January 7, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0312979517
  • ISBN-13: 9780312979515