Stein & Candle: Cold Wars by Michael Panush

Stein & Candle: Cold Wars by Michael Panush
The Stein & Candle Detective Agency Volume 2
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (221 pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

A wealthy Hawaiian hotelier is chewed to death by sharks – in his penthouse office.

A traveling salesman goes missing – in a shady New England town full of monstrous fishmen.

A new casino gets supernaturally good luck in Vegas – thanks to ancient Egyptian magic.

These are the cases taken by Morton Candle and Weatherby Stein. Mort’s a hardboiled ex-paratrooper turned two-gun shamus. Weatherby’s a fourteen-year-old wiz kid and heir to the greatest family of European sorcerers.

They met in the fury of WWII, when Weatherby and his parents were being held hostage by the Third Reich and Mort’s squad was sent to bust them out. Now they’re a pair of private detectives specializing in the paranormal, the supernatural and the just plain weird.

But sometimes, arcane evil goes back a long way and a dangerous force from deep in the past of Stein’s family is about rise. Weatherby and Mort will put everything they have into stopping it – and it might not be enough.

This is an unusual book. Set in the 1950s, it has the air of old detective cartoon books about secret agents. The book follows the careers of Morton Candle, a retired army sergeant turned detective and Weatherby Stein, genius of the supernatural and inheritor of his father’s knowledge of the supernatural.

Their reputation is for solving cases of the unusual kind and each section covers a different crime for the two intrepid heroes to solve. First is the case of a man killed by a shark – in the penthouse office. Other similar strange cases come their way and they attempt to solve them with their usual combination of investigative experience and supernatural expertise.

The two main characters are fun. Mort knows Weatherby is still a child as far as maturity goes, but he treats him with respect. Most of the time Weatherby goes along with Mort, but when he feels strongly about something he digs his heels in and goes his own way.

Weatherby’s sister, Selena, makes a few brief appearances much to Mort’s irritation. Due to the fact it’s separated into different stories (or cases) it’s a book that can easily be put down and picked up again as time permits. Maybe it was the 1950s style of writing, but I found although I enjoyed it, this book didn’t grab me enough to want to make me read more of the series. On the whole the book is lighthearted despite the paranormal aspect and I read it with enjoyment.

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