The Stiff in the Five Hundred Dollar Suit

Rated 4.17/5 based on 6 reviews
During the mid-1950’s, Chief Detective Harvey Halloway was assigned a murder case involving a well-dressed man, found dead on the sidewalk. A case that initially seemed to be pretty routine slowly grew in complexity, expanding to include local gangsters and the FBI. Caught between rival gangs, Halloway and his partner work to solve the case before becoming causalities themselves. More
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About Steve Matthew Benner

Dr. Steve M. Benner received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Ohio State University in 1979 and has worked in industry, academia, and the federal government. He currently works for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland as part of the Advance Concepts Office. He has written numerous scientific articles as well as several articles on ancient history. Dr. Benner's extensive knowledge of science and history has led to his having an ego the size of New Jersey and may account for his being one of the most self-centered people in America today.


Review by: Mike White on Aug. 18, 2017 :
This is one of the worst books I've ever read on Smashwords.

Even from a technical perspective, this book was almost unreadable. The script format of the dialogue was distracting. The dialogue itself was awkward, unnatural, and utilitarian. The characters are flat. The book has minimal reflection on anything. It has a very mechanical feel. Since the book was edited relatively well, I'm sure most of the flaws were not simply oversights.

The author's extreme sexism and racism were so blatant that he seemed to make his third-person-omniscient narrator a bigot.

The fact that he listed the age, weight, build, facial features, and race of every single character who was introduced in an info-dump of narration was bad enough. Even in a story written from the perspective on an AI, this wouldn't work. The AI would also not rate the subjective attractiveness of all of the different characters, either.

We get to hear about all of the bra sizes and measurements of the female characters, and sometimes their rating on a scale of 1 to 10. I couldn't believe it.

We didn't get to hear about the men's measurements, of course.

Like most people, the author also has no idea of what different weights actually look like, either. This only adds insult to injury.

Chief Detective Harvey Halloway is described like this: 'white male, 5 feet 11 inches, 185 pounds, early forties, brown hair with a few streaks of grey, brown eyes, muscular build with slight mid-life paunch, bullet scar over right eye, and ruggedly handsome features.'

Yes, the author described his protagonist with a word-brick like that.

Men who are 5 feet 11 inches and 185 pounds almost always look thin. Look at the Photographic Height/Weight Chart online: don't rely on your subjective interpretation of the unscientific BMI formula. People with mid-twenties BMI ratings usually pass for thin.

Harvey should be around twenty to thirty pounds heavier to fit the description given, at least. For god's sake: if you're going to actually list a character's statistics in such an unnatural and judgmental way, at least get them right. All of the book's descriptions are just as bad and inaccurate.

The writer certainly has no clue about the weight of women, or what kind of measurements very thin women actually have, or whether everyone agrees with him about which women are objectively beautiful. In a world where curvaceous beauty icons are now completely mainstream, his descriptions feel like relics from another time.

Given that Marilyn Monroe represented the beauty ideal of the 1950's, the author clearly wasn't writing like this in order to get into the mindset of the times.

If the writer was trying to replicate the 1950's in all of its conservative reality, he executed it very badly and without historical accuracy. If he wasn't, that's even worse. The objectification of women and the overall conservatism brought down what would have been a dull police procedural otherwise.
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Review by: Bob Peters on Jan. 21, 2015 :
Once I started reading this book, I found it hard to put down. It maintained a good level of tension from the start. I had two criticisms. First there was sometimes too much information about the physical characteristics of the characters. I did not need to know the bra size of every female character. Second, I did not find the last chapter believable. Why would the very sharp character confess to every thing when caught?
These are relatively minor criticisms. I took this book on a business trip and was always eager to read the next chapter.
I will be be reading another book from Dr. Benner.
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Review by: Kenpress on Oct. 27, 2014 :
Well written and held my interest.
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Review by: Lillith Dunn on July 25, 2014 :
This is a good story but the writing is poor. The characters are interesting but the dialog is stiff and unnatural.
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Review by: Otis Brown on April 24, 2014 :

This is a can't-put-it-down kind of book. It's well-written, intelligent and has interesting main characters. I wish the book could just have kept on going, With the interesting cliff-hanger, I can't wait until the next installment.

Carol Brown
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Review by: M. Chris Benner on April 21, 2014 :
Amazing. Highly recommended.
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