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The Big Farewell by Dan Leissner - A Book Review

by Mike Haberfelner

April 2021

Quick Links

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New York City, the 1920s: He's a thug for hire, a giant of a man whose face has been blown away in World War 1 forcing him to wear a mask, and that makes him look even more menacing. She's a high society party girl, fabulous-looking but heavy boozing, and often trouble. And one such night when she has had enough, he's to drive her home, but she gives him the slip. A few days later she winds up dead, the death ruled a suicide, but he knows better - he doesn't know how, he just does, also fueled by the cock-and-bull story her fame-hungry parents tell about her being a virtual saint. And then she appears to him, in the flesh, inexplicably. He can touch her, feel her, she can eat and drink, her body's warm - but nobody but him can see her. She urges him to find out what has happened to her, and he quickly develops feelings for the girl, and thinks to find her murderer might be a way to atone for his many sins, including murder. Now she doesn't help in his investigations in a direct way, but drops clues as to who to interview, where to find her diary and the like - and what he finds out about her is rather shocking, that her father, a failed businessman, had pretty much sold her to a prominent Boston politician at age 11, who had groomed her for years to ultimately ... well, I guess you can finish that phrase yourself. What resulted from that was a net of blackmail and intrigue, and a young girl's life and mind spun completely out of control. And as a result, it seems many people could have wished her dead - but who did actually do the deed?


Based loosely on the real life mystery of Starr Faithfull, a woman whose untimely, unnatural death in 1931 was shrouded in mystery - read more at -, this novel doesn't follow the events too closely, going even so far as setting the thing a few years earlier, but does try to emulate the hard-boiled style of the pulps of the day, yet not so much by just aping the stories from back when but using them as a template for an actually very intimate story that adds a supernatural element to the goings-on in a way that feels perfectly natural and that makes the novel veer off into a direction all of its own, making this one a rather fascinating read for sure.


If this has gotten you at all interested, The Big Farewell can be obtained, as e-book or paperback, from the following:




... and from pretty much all Amazons worldwide J


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD