Peter Gessner. The Big Hello and the Long Goodbye (2007) 183 pp.
Walker is a middle-aged, transplanted New Yorker working as a private investigator in San Francisco. He’s got a rent-controlled apartment on Telegraph Hill with a million-dollar view, a British racing green 1956 MG, a high-maintenance girlfriend, and a lovesick Indonesian fighting fish. He’s also got two cases. The first is seemingly hopeless: a 15-year old Palestinian-American boy is in jail after shooting his sister in an apparent honor killing after she began dating a flashy Hispanic man. The boy’s defense lawyer, who routinely throws cases Walker’s way, hires him to turn up any mitigating circumstances that could help his client. In his other case, Walker is hired by David Singleton, a successful high-tech entrepreneur, to find his brother, Allan, an eccentric, reclusive mathematics genius. David is afraid that Allan is planning to sabotage an upcoming public speech by the CEO of a local denim manufacturer. The cases converge when Walker starts to get some unlikely help from a beautiful Israeli nurse-turned-drug-addict-turned-stripper. This is the first novel by Peter Gessner, a licensed private investigator based in San Francisco (who also shares several other characteristics with his fictional protagonist).
Setting: San Francisco