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Tower of Babel

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Shamus Award–winning author Michael Sears brings Queens, New York, to literary life in this crime series debut featuring a somewhat seedy lawyer with a heart of gold (or at least gold plate). Queens, New York—the most diverse place on earth. Native son Ted Malloy knows these streets like the back of his hand. Ted was once a high-powered Manhattan lawyer, but after a specta Shamus Award–winning author Michael Sears brings Queens, New York, to literary life in this crime series debut featuring a somewhat seedy lawyer with a heart of gold (or at least gold plate). Queens, New York—the most diverse place on earth. Native son Ted Malloy knows these streets like the back of his hand. Ted was once a high-powered Manhattan lawyer, but after a spectacular fall from grace, he has found himself back on his home turf, scraping by as a foreclosure profiteer. It’s a grubby business, but a safe one—until Ted’s case sourcer, a mostly reformed small-time conman named Richie Rubiano, turns up murdered shortly after tipping Ted off to an improbably lucrative lead. With Richie’s widow on his back and shadows of the past popping up at every turn, Ted realizes he’s gotten himself embroiled in a murder investigation. His quest for the truth will take him all over Queens, plunging him into the machinations of greedy developers, mobsters, enraged activists, old litigator foes and old-school New York City operators.


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Shamus Award–winning author Michael Sears brings Queens, New York, to literary life in this crime series debut featuring a somewhat seedy lawyer with a heart of gold (or at least gold plate). Queens, New York—the most diverse place on earth. Native son Ted Malloy knows these streets like the back of his hand. Ted was once a high-powered Manhattan lawyer, but after a specta Shamus Award–winning author Michael Sears brings Queens, New York, to literary life in this crime series debut featuring a somewhat seedy lawyer with a heart of gold (or at least gold plate). Queens, New York—the most diverse place on earth. Native son Ted Malloy knows these streets like the back of his hand. Ted was once a high-powered Manhattan lawyer, but after a spectacular fall from grace, he has found himself back on his home turf, scraping by as a foreclosure profiteer. It’s a grubby business, but a safe one—until Ted’s case sourcer, a mostly reformed small-time conman named Richie Rubiano, turns up murdered shortly after tipping Ted off to an improbably lucrative lead. With Richie’s widow on his back and shadows of the past popping up at every turn, Ted realizes he’s gotten himself embroiled in a murder investigation. His quest for the truth will take him all over Queens, plunging him into the machinations of greedy developers, mobsters, enraged activists, old litigator foes and old-school New York City operators.

30 review for Tower of Babel

  1. 4 out of 5

    3 no 7

    “Tower of Babel” opens with a confession; if Ted had known Richie would be dead in three days perhaps he would have tried harder to like him. What follows is a story of scheming, political corruption, money laundering, defrauding the elderly, and just bad karma. Sears drops readers into the middle of Queens, an ethnically and culturally diverse part of New York City. It is a city in transition with new development threatening to tear the community apart. New construction with buildings stretching “Tower of Babel” opens with a confession; if Ted had known Richie would be dead in three days perhaps he would have tried harder to like him. What follows is a story of scheming, political corruption, money laundering, defrauding the elderly, and just bad karma. Sears drops readers into the middle of Queens, an ethnically and culturally diverse part of New York City. It is a city in transition with new development threatening to tear the community apart. New construction with buildings stretching upward into the dark grey sky seems to be planned in every neighborhood. The cost to empty a building for redevelopment is more than just money; it can also be measured by the lives of people who are disrupted, shattered, and left homeless. Ted Molloy is a fixer, a finder; he is resourceful, impulsive, and loves baseball. He normally tracks down people who are owed extra money from real estate sales and takes a cut for helping them get the cash. He follows the money. No one gets murdered over surplus money, and yet somehow someone did. “Tower of Babel” starts slowly with the search for an elderly land owner and picks up momentum until the fast, furious, and tragic end. Lines are crossed that should never have been approached. One question remains; was it love or obsession if you murdered someone? Did it matter? I received a review copy of “Tower of Babel” from Michael Sears and Soho Crime. The characters have layer upon layer of secrets, motives, and surprises. Oh yes, and there are Russians.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    It has been several years since Michael Sears’ last novel, so I was thrilled to sink my teeth into his new release, TOWER OF BABEL. Readers are introduced to Ted Molloy, who is almost instantly memorable and sympathetic. Ted is a native New Yorker who has a penchant for home games, which he attends as frequently as possible, occasionally in the company of his ex-wife. He is also a former attorney who was once on the fast track to success with a white-shoe Manhattan law firm. His fall from grace w It has been several years since Michael Sears’ last novel, so I was thrilled to sink my teeth into his new release, TOWER OF BABEL. Readers are introduced to Ted Molloy, who is almost instantly memorable and sympathetic. Ted is a native New Yorker who has a penchant for home games, which he attends as frequently as possible, occasionally in the company of his ex-wife. He is also a former attorney who was once on the fast track to success with a white-shoe Manhattan law firm. His fall from grace was abrupt and dramatic. Although he left behind his license to practice law with his high salary and prestige, he took his skill set with him and parlayed it into a marginally successful career as a foreclosure profiteer. He looks for situations where he can make some money, though not a lot, eschewing high-finance transactions that tend to be time-consuming in favor of numerous smaller ones. Ted is assisted by a bottom feeder named Richie Rubiano, a one-time con man who works as his case sourcer. Richie spends his time pouring over foreclosure actions in the office of the clerk of courts and looking for potential winners within the financial parameters set by Ted. When Richie brings him a seven-figure case --- well beyond the limits he has set --- he almost instantly rejects it. However, Ted’s interest is renewed when Richie is murdered three days later. It appears that his untimely death was related to this case, which becomes increasingly suspicious since the original owner of the property is flush with cash and advanced in age. Ted does some digging and finds Russians, an unscrupulous real estate developer, and ties to his ex-wife and former law firm all in the mix. He senses more injustice taking place as he becomes involved in the investigation of Richie’s murder, in which he is a person of interest. Richie’s widow implores him to find out who killed her husband and to ostensibly recover his share of the case that he brought to Ted. She is a bit mercurial in mood, which certainly complicates matters. Ted gets some unexpected help from several sources, including an alcoholic grifter who is nonetheless connected and a community activist with whom he is feeling the urge to get active. However, they are arrayed against powerful forces and will be lucky to escape with their lives, let alone obtain justice, even of a sort. Sears was the managing director for two Wall Street brokerage firms. As a result, his novels are shot through with an air of authenticity. Ted Molloy is an interesting and addictive character whom fans of author Timothy Hallinan will find particularly appealing. Return visits from Ted and those characters who make it to the conclusion of TOWER OF BABEL in one piece will be most welcomed. I only ask that Sears, if possible, shorten the interval between his books next time. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nisha Joshi (in the midst of an Austengasm)

    Ted Malloy is a tracker. He tracks down people who are owed money and helps them get the money for some commission. Richie is his right-hand man. When Richie brings him a big case, Ted almost rejects it. But Richie is murdered within days and Ted is intrigued. Richie's wife expedites matters by asking him to find the killer and recover the money. A rollercoaster begins - one that involves the Russian Mafia - and Ted is embroiled very quickly in something he might not be able to come out of alive. T Ted Malloy is a tracker. He tracks down people who are owed money and helps them get the money for some commission. Richie is his right-hand man. When Richie brings him a big case, Ted almost rejects it. But Richie is murdered within days and Ted is intrigued. Richie's wife expedites matters by asking him to find the killer and recover the money. A rollercoaster begins - one that involves the Russian Mafia - and Ted is embroiled very quickly in something he might not be able to come out of alive. The writing is good, though some parts felt too descriptive for my taste. This is the first Michael Sears book I have read and I will surely be reading his other books. 4 stars. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

    Ted Malloy once the top of his class coming out of law school and heading to a top New York prestiges law firm along with getting the girl from said law firm. But he ends up in divorce and gets driven out of the law firm. He manages to make a living by reuniting individuals that lost property in commercial foreclosures and had leftover money they did exist with said money for a finders fee. This is not glamourous work but it keeps the bills paid. Things seem to be going all right until his runne Ted Malloy once the top of his class coming out of law school and heading to a top New York prestiges law firm along with getting the girl from said law firm. But he ends up in divorce and gets driven out of the law firm. He manages to make a living by reuniting individuals that lost property in commercial foreclosures and had leftover money they did exist with said money for a finders fee. This is not glamourous work but it keeps the bills paid. Things seem to be going all right until his runner who brings Mr. Malloy potential cases brings him one that goes against his better judgment seeing that there is to much money there. Things take a turn for the worse when his runner turns up dead from what looks like maybe a hit. This brings Mr. Molloy into quite a cast of characters and potentially a murder suspect. This book has social activist, crooked politicians, Russian hitman to name a few. This story keeps you interested from start until the end with many twist and turn. It is a good read and you will not be disappointed. I received an ARC from Netgalley and SoHo press for a fair and honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Adams

    At first I was drawn in. Loved the details of the setting and very much felt like it was written by a Queens native. But it just dragged on and on. Could have been a lot more concise and got muddled in the second half. After that point I mostly skimmed just to get the gist and at no point felt inclined to make the deep dive back in. 2.5 Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Philippe Bogdanoff

    A great book!!!! I loved reading to very much. Michael Sears is a great story teller, reading the book you feel the atmosphere of Queens ))))) "New York rewards the strong and the lucky. Everyone else gets by or gets devoured. It has always been that way" - great words!!!! A great book!!!! I loved reading to very much. Michael Sears is a great story teller, reading the book you feel the atmosphere of Queens ))))) "New York rewards the strong and the lucky. Everyone else gets by or gets devoured. It has always been that way" - great words!!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dan Petrick

    4.3 stars....an excellent classic private investigator tale with murder, betrayal, money laundering...the author did an excellent of bringing Queens to life

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ricki

    This new character reminded me of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder. A plodding gumshoe of sorts. Miss that character a lot and this is a good replacement. This new character reminded me of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder. A plodding gumshoe of sorts. Miss that character a lot and this is a good replacement.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Solid suspense, but can drone on at times. I received an Advanced Review Copy through Goodreads giveaways.

  10. 5 out of 5

    B.

    2.5 stars. Really liked his Jason Stafford novels, but this one didn't resonate with me. 2.5 stars. Really liked his Jason Stafford novels, but this one didn't resonate with me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Danilo DiPietro

    Top notch thriller! Would give an extra star because I grew up in Queens and Sears captures the borough’s rhythms and nuances so well. I hope these characters return for more adventures!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Owen Laukkanen

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gale Verdult

  14. 4 out of 5

    alan l. goldman

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pinel

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Smith

  17. 5 out of 5

    JGR

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Holzman

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bill Power

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Bower-Rogers

  21. 4 out of 5

    rob segal

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Venson Jennings

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Jaeckle

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kim Deutschman

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom Drouin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laurie Allen

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Gee

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patty Shlonsky

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