Southern Scribe
     our culture of storytelling


Thriller Review   

Dire Straits
By Marshall Frank
Harlan Publishing, 2001
ISBN:  0-9676528-2-0



Cuban-born homicide detective Mike Estevez is searching for a sadistic killer on the streets of Miami.  Dire Straits opens with the murder of an innocent fishing guide, then without taking a breath goes to a ladies sex party with male strippers.  Pretending to be a pizza delivery, the murderous gang enters the party in search of drug money hidden by the homeowner.  The brutal scene is a “then there were none” countdown witnessed by two guests hidden in an air duct. 

The two living witnesses handle the experience differently.  The young black male stripper calls 911 and waits for police, but he only heard the events.  Mirage, the beautiful woman with a caesarian scar, saw each woman shot and the faces of the three uninvited guests.  But like her name, she was just an illusion and coolly disappears into the night.   

Power plays and police politics impede the investigation, but Estevez has a bigger problem.  There is a direct leak from the police station to the murderer, who is leaving a trail of victims as he searches south Florida for the witnesses.  In one week, his style of sexual murder becomes serial and even connects to an unsolved case during the Liberty City riots. 

The personal lives of homicide detectives come into play, as hours on the job destroy marriages.  Estevez wife, unable to talk to him, turns to an old lover and officer in the department.  As the murders paint Miami red, she disappears into the Everglades like a mirage.   

Dire Straits is a breath-taking page turner that blends sexual perversion with the struggle of relationships at home.  Marshall Frank ends with the lead-in to the next Mike Estevez detective thriller to solve his father’s murder. 

Marshall Frank is a retired captain and 30-year veteran of the Metro-Dade Police Department in Miami, Florida.  He lives in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

Note to readers:  Dire Straits is a guy’s book.  Some may find the crude language, bathroom humor and violence to women offensive.    


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews