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In the words of Lee Child on Gone to Dust, “I want more of Nils Shapiro.” New York Times-bestselling and Emmy Award-winning author Matt Goldman happily obliges by bringing the Minneapolis private detective back for another thrilling, standalone adventure in Dead West.

Nils Shapiro accepts what appears to be an easy, lucrative job: find out if Beverly Mayer’s grandson is foolishly throwing away his trust fund in Hollywood, especially now, in the wake of his fiancée’s tragic death. However, that easy job becomes much more complicated once Nils arrives in Los Angeles, a disorienting place where the sunshine hides dark secrets.

Nils quickly suspects that Ebben Mayer’s fiancée was murdered, and that Ebben himself may have been the target. As Nils moves into Ebben’s inner circle, he discovers that everyone in Ebben’s professional life—his agent, manager, a screenwriter, a producer—seem to have dubious motives at best.

With Nil's friend Jameson White, who has come to Los Angeles to deal with demons of his own, acting as Ebben’s bodyguard, Nils sets out to find a killer before it’s too late.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published August 4, 2020

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Matt Goldman

9 books295 followers

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5 stars
355 (26%)
4 stars
618 (46%)
3 stars
288 (21%)
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50 (3%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 179 reviews
Profile Image for Laura Rash Wonderchick.
1,224 reviews139 followers
January 8, 2020
I’ve read this whole series so far and this was by far the best! Nils Shapiro is a character in all sense of the word and his wit is to die for! The character evolvement in this installment was excellent and made for a fast paced & highly entertaining read! Thanks to the author for this early signed copy for review:)
1,154 reviews17 followers
April 12, 2021
I knew I was going to love this book (even though I've not read the first 3) when I realized I had a fictional crush on Nils on page 4! He is hired by Ebben's grandmother to discover facts around his young wife's untimely death. Nils must travel from Minnesota to L.A.--a huge change for him. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in Minneapolis and lived there until we moved to California, but I loved watching him discover all the idiosyncrasies and the lingo as he needed to blend in. It's a great complicated storyline that has Nils investigating the world of show biz and mobsters. It was a wild ride for sure but worth it! Now I'll go back and read the first three!
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
Profile Image for Kathy.
3,271 reviews172 followers
July 21, 2020
This latest book featuring Nils Shapiro, private investigator, is entertaining, cohesive, sometimes enchanting and always interesting. I did read the second book in this series a while back and since I am from Minnesota myself, I may have been a tad harsh in my review and did not expect to read another. I am very happy I found this available and gave this writer a second chance because he has really delivered a compelling story filled with interesting characters where the action is mostly played out in LA.
I hesitate to be too descriptive of the plot as I do not wish to spoil book for others. Having once been a cop, Nils uses his knowledge of how to handle them and how to predict what their next moves will be to save the day in many situations. He is hired initially by wealthy St. Paul woman to go out to California to find out what her grandson is getting up to in the wake of the sudden death of his fiancee. Goldman's description of the matriarch and her husband starts off the book with a smile, giving the reader confidence that this is going to be fun. His humour sings out in this book frequently, and I do recall thinking as I read the earlier book 2 that I had expected humour and felt disappointed. Not this time round. There are many challenges in this tale, both mental and physical along with generous displays of compassion for others...no matter how weird.

Library Loan
Profile Image for 3 no 7.
739 reviews17 followers
September 23, 2020
Hollywood drama from a Montana perspective

“Dead West” is a story of films and family, devotion and deception, danger and redemption. It is part of Goldman’s series that features Nils Shapiro and Stone Arch Investigations, and new readers will find any necessary background information contained within the narrative. Beverly Mayer is worried about her grandson whose fiancé just died in Los Angeles. She is afraid that he has fallen in with the wrong crowd in Hollywood and is squandering the family fortune.

The story unfolds in Shapiro’s first person narrative. He talks directly to readers, and he talks to himself -- a lot; he even talks to himself when he is in a coma. He describes himself as a justice freak with an intrinsic need to find the truth. The plot is conversation driven, so readers hear what Shapiro says to people and what they say to him. The characters are complex, and relationships are well developed. People and details from previous books are seamlessly integrated into this story.

Upon arriving in Los Angeles and conducting a quick investigation, Shapiro immediately recognizes that the fiancé had been murdered and knows who did it, but of course he does not share that with readers. The story has a SoCal vibe, of course, with weather very different from Minnesota as well as unique L.A. geography, commerce, traffic, and famous movie culture.
This is a town where everything is for sale, houses do not have basements, and everyone has an idea for a series, including Shapiro.

Goldman seamlessly resolves complications from the past while keeping readers involved in the current case. I received a review copy of “Dead West” from Matt Goldman, Macmillan Publishing, and Forge Books. This is not a “formula” series, not just the same old plot but with different names. The characters are familiar and yet change and grow over time; every book is unique, readable, and compelling with humor as an added bonus. And, this one has a very interesting way to hide a safe.
Profile Image for Alecia.
Author 3 books34 followers
October 2, 2020
I found this to be a moderately enjoyable read (some parts more enjoyable than others), and a bit more contemplative than most mysteries of this type. But the plot was slightly convoluted and a bit unconvincing at times. I have not read any of the author's previous books, so I don't know if the protagonist/PI, Nils Shapiro, has a kind of supernatural sixth sense. But without asking any questions, he "knows" the victim was murdered and did not die of heart failure. There is a sly sense of humor in parts that I found amusing (the author was a TV writer for Seinfeld and Ellen). But all in all, I found this book unremarkable, except for the ending, which I found very good.
Profile Image for Aristotle.
620 reviews64 followers
August 27, 2020
Clever humor hidden throughout the book.

Matt Goldman began his career as a stand-up comedian in Minneapolis.
He moved To Los Angeles to work his trait and eventually ended up writing for the TV comedy Seinfeld.
His humor shows up frequently in the life of Private Investigator Nils Shapiro.
A well written episode with a smooth plot, interesting characters, cool locale and great food.
Start with Book 1 too fully appreciate Nils and his gang.
Profile Image for Anne - Books of My Heart.
2,882 reviews190 followers
August 13, 2020
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from the Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3.5 hearts

I listened to Gone to Dust after seeing it as an Audible daily deal and have continued with the Nils Shapiro series .    I really enjoyed the Minnesota setting since so much is familiar, having lived there for many years.   Dead West,  the fourth book in the series, is a whole different feel as it takes place mostly in Los Angeles, California. I'm uncertain what change made this a less favored read.

Nils has many changes in his personal life. He is engaged to Gabriela and has a new baby daughter, Evelyn.   He has great friends and a job he enjoys.  He is happy. He's not sure if he wants to take risks in solving cases, which is an outlook change.

He is sent on an "easy" job to find out for grandparents if their grandson is "wasting" his wealth on Hollywood movie productions.  The cover is attending the life celebration of his girlfriend who died. The crazy world of actors, writers and film production is well, crazy.  Everyone has their own aspirations and is trying to be more.  Nils feels some things are not right.  The original case morphs into something else entirely.

Jameson is along as a bodyguard and help navigating since he lived here and once drove a taxi in LA.  He is having personal issues and ends up helping only sporadically. He spends more time visiting old friends and colleagues from when he lived here.

I'm not sure if it is the change in narrator, the lack of Minnesota setting, the slightly increased focus on Nils' personal life, or the convoluted investigation in the case but I didn't enjoy it as much.  These clients have money and yet the case is not handled in a very professional manner with proper protection for the vulnerable.  I prefer smart and thrilling to quirky.

McLeod Andrews has narrated all the previous books and honestly, I really enjoyed him.  The new narrator is Bronson Pinchot  He has a strange way of handling female voices. There parts are spoken very quickly with no breaths but not really higher in pitch.  The rest of the narration was more normally paced and it was fine.  I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.

Listen to a clip: HERE
Profile Image for Jeanette.
3,169 reviews542 followers
April 23, 2022
Satisfying conclusive type of read for Nils Shapiro, our Minnesota ex-cop, detective investigator.

It was a good read, but the plot was unconnected tangent to most of the characters, and was entirely secondary to the views and logistics of Los Angeles. Not only the place but the movies' persona, players, shakers. About 2/3rds of the copy is in LA within 2 Nils Shapiro trips.

Goldman writes dialogue pretty well. You can see it is definitely his prime skill, professional territory.

Some of the practical explanations in the summations did not make sense to me. Where are you going to buy $15 or $20 million value in gift or credit card held value forms without getting noticed? And how many sellers for these would you have to visit. With their cameras? Some of these explanations just don't make sense. Even cash is easier to combine, group, manage. The drug cartels seem to do it daily.

Regardless, all the real who-dun-it aspect is settled within the last 40 pages. So the balance was not what I would consider 4 or 5 star. Plus it was all tied up with a feel good movie ending. After more than 3 murders and a terrible hospital ordeal? Well, see what I mean. Still the conversations between August, Nils, Jameson, Brit etc. became the 4 star parts.

But that's it for me with Goldman unless he chooses some different directions. Nils needs to stay in Minnesota. Vikings and Twins talk dropped it .5 stars for me. LOL!

People who watch movies, study film, love the Hollywood director, promoter, actors etc. scene will like this a lot more than I did. Think Entourage- if you are familiar with that past series.
Profile Image for Becky.
162 reviews3 followers
August 27, 2020
Another fun ride by Matt Goldman! This one set mostly in L.A.,but with a strong MN connection, which I always love. Nils and Jameson’s friendship is so well written and full of truth. Such great characters.
Profile Image for Andy.
637 reviews18 followers
August 16, 2020
I had a spot for one book for fun before plunging into what promises to be a bizarre and challenging autumn of teaching a college literature & cinema course.
I chose this one. I love detective novels; this was the first by Goldman that I've read.

Lovable, memorable characters, including some of the minor ones.
Delectable food scenes.
High quantity of Raymond Chandler style similes, and a lot of them laugh provoking.

Compelling and chewy, a lovely last summer break breath before a plunge.
Profile Image for Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller.
1,697 reviews24.8k followers
August 10, 2020
Matt Goldman is not a household name yet, but he has been steadily building a reputation over the past several years as a solid and respectable author on the strength of his Nils Shapiro series.

Nils is a Minneapolis private investigator who is the co-owner of a strategically growing firm, in which he does the majority of the street work, as opposed to managing the office and crunching the numbers. Part of the reason for this particular assignment of duties is that he has a unique talent: the ability to make calculations, the results of which are initially manifested emotionally --- call it a hunch, if you will --- before his consciousness catches up. To put it another way, he knows something before he figures out how he got there. One might call it a form of confirmation bias, except that Nils is almost always right, which is quite helpful in DEAD WEST.

Goldman transplants Nils from the familiar territory of Minnesota to southern California, a place that could not be more alien or different to him. The move is occasioned by an elderly and wealthy client named Beverly Meyer, who has some doubts about her grandson, Ebben. She controls the purse strings on the family trust with iron fingers and is concerned that Ebben, who is in Hollywood and involved in the film industry, is a wasteling.

Matters are complicated by the recent death, apparently by natural causes, of Ebben’s fiancée, Juliana. Beverly wants Nils to travel to Hollywood and find out what Ebben is up to. He agrees to the assignment, bringing along his friend and sidekick, Jameson White, who is still reeling from a professional tragedy that entered into the personal realm. Jameson is from southern California and knows his way around.

Nils is also hoping that getting Jameson out of Minnesota and back to the Los Angeles area will bring him out of his emotional shell. Almost from the moment his plane lands, Nils begins to compare the traffic, weather, buildings and people of Hollywood and L.A. with those of Minneapolis. These observations are quite astute; given that they are parceled out in dribs and drabs throughout the narrative, they are worth the price of admission all by themselves. However, Nils is there on business and makes contact immediately with Ebben at a memorial service arranged for Juliana.

Nils can’t help but like Ebben, who seems to be a decent sort and is hardly racing through his trust fund monies to get into the movie business. But Nils' peculiar talent warns him that Juliana, rather than dying naturally, was murdered. He launches an investigation, even as Jameson disappears on a folly of his own and cannot be found, at least initially. It develops that Jameson has a couple of secrets of his own, but so does just about everyone in DEAD WEST, including a mysterious and dangerous one-eyed eastern European tough guy who talks like... Well, I’m not going to tell you that, as Goldman’s description of it is one of the best lines in the book.

There is violence, humor, some complexity and a satisfying ending to be had here, and hopefully more is to come.

Nils Shapiro is a terrific protagonist created by a masterful author. Goldman is not necessarily a literary writer, but he is an outstanding storyteller who creates memorable images while spinning simple beginnings into complex but comprehensible endings. Each of the four books in this series can be read on their own, which you certainly will want to do after polishing off DEAD WEST.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
Profile Image for Pamela.
790 reviews7 followers
July 15, 2020
This the fourth book in the Nils Shapiro series, and I’ve not read any of the first three. The publisher is calling this a standalone book in the series.

Nils Shapiro is a private investigator in Minneapolis and is hired by the wealthy grandparents of Ebben Mayers to find out what he’s doing with the trust fund he inherited when he turned thirty. They’re afraid he may be throwing his money away on film projects in Hollywood. Ebben is mourning the death of his fiancé, Juliana Marquez. With Jameson White, a six-foot-seven sweetheart of a man, as his bodyguard, Nils heads for Hollywood.

I got this book because of the positive reviews about the author and this series. However, it didn’t take me long to realize this writer is not my cup of tea. The book reads as if he were trying to channel one or more of the noir writers from the 1940s – and fails miserably. Right off the bat, on page one, when Goldman is describing the woman who is hiring him as her “gray hair appeared long, but was twisted and folded on top of her head like a challah.” I can’t even picture what the woman looked like when her head looks as if a loaf of bread is sitting on top of it. Then Goldman describes the woman’s husband as having a “neck too small for his white dress shirt – the shirt didn’t touch his neck the way Saturn’s rings don’t touch Saturn.” I should have stopped reading right then and there. But, unfortunately, I continued with the book. I also ended up thinking that this author writes like a teenaged boy trying to copy a famous writer and failing wretchedly. I was left wondering what I was missing.

However, I did stop reading when it takes Goldman’s main character less than ten minutes, and without asking a single question, to realize that Juliana Marquez had been murdered.

If you’ve read other of Goldman’s books and enjoyed them, you will undoubtedly love this one. But if you’re looking for a well-written, well-plotted, creative story with strong character development, you might want to look elsewhere.

My thanks to Forge Press and Edelweiss for an eARC.
Profile Image for Britney.
44 reviews
October 26, 2020
We'll get the elephant out of the room first- yes, I did in fact cry. "Britney, what in a detective novel could make you cry?" I've been following this character for 4 books let me have my moment.
I liked the change of scenery, it was fun to see Nils a bit out of his element on top of his behavioral changes. I liked getting to see more of Jameson (of course, 10/10 character, do love a lot.) The plot was high stakes but in the same way that merging into traffic is high stakes. It was a little stressful but it was never to the point where i was S T R E S S E D (but i've also been reading a lot of horror so take that with a grain of salt.) I had fun, I had a good time reading this.
Also I love the way Matt Goldman writes. I like the wit and humour that he gets to write with because Nils is such a sarcastic and offbeat character. Its honestly what sets him apart from other crime-y/detective-y writers. And there were less road directions in this one, which made it easier to read for me :p
I'm excited for the next(?) one :) (i'm always excited for the next one)
Profile Image for Kristine.
2,251 reviews25 followers
January 14, 2022
3.5 Stars 🌟

First of all, let me say that I very rarely have any criticisms on narration. I listen to A LOT of books. Probably at least 9 to 10 a week. Yes, it does happen that I feel the need to speak out if a certain narrator takes away from the book, but it is pretty rare.

Well......there is always a first time.

That was one of the biggest problems with this book. We are 4 books into a series and the first three books were narrated by MacLeod Andrews (who, BTW, is a favorite of mine) and for some reason, this book switches to Bronson Pinchot (who, I have noticed is a bit polarizing on various reviews). But, with that being said, I've never really listened to a book that I felt he ruined. Until now.

The book itself was good. I have enjoyed the Nils Shapiro series. He is a likeable character that grows on you fairly quickly. The last book really skirted the line with some views that felt kind of "preachy" and was very close to getting too political, but while it skirted the line...it didn't go too far over.

In this book, Nils finds himself in the middle of something that tends to be bigger than anyone thought. I like following along as he throws himself into certain situations where you are sometimes thinking..."uh oh, are you sure that's a good idea?" but, somehow it just works out.

This was a quick and easy read/listen (even though the way the narrator portrayed certain characters was downright AWFUL) but still, I enjoyed the story arc and was happy to follow along.

Is this the last book in the series? I don't think so, or at least I hope not. This is a fun and quirky private eye who somehow always tends to fool the people around him by being smarter than people give him credit for.

Profile Image for Jan.
4,432 reviews46 followers
February 3, 2022
An extremely wealthy octogenarian matriarch is paying Shapiro to go to Hollywood to see if her grandson is wasting his inheritance. Said grandson is a mess because his fiancée has just died. Was it an OD, a byproduct of the thinness mentality of the film industry, or something altogether different? Shapiro knows he is in way over his head and just wants to go back home to his own fiancée. But he discovers another angle just about the time that the thirty something entrepreneur declares that he needs Shapiro's help. Then it turns into a Hollywood kind of mess, but at least the local police detectives definitely know what they're doing. Put all this mess alongside the issues that surround Shapiro's good friend who is having a PTSD meltdown and you have a good but crazy read.
Now that he's been on one coast, I wonder if he'll go to New Jersey and meet up with fellow snark king, Andy Carpenter.
Voice actor Bronson Pinchot was good as general narration and the voice of Shapiro, but his interpretation of the other characters both new and recurring made me want to find a good TTS robot.
Profile Image for Sue Em.
1,123 reviews49 followers
December 22, 2020
Nils Shapiro, everyone's favorite P.I. from Minneapolis, returns with a new case where he gets sent to L.A. to check up on the grandson of a wealthy woman. While the mystery is solid, the pure joy is not only how he works it out, but his friends, relationships, and the characters he meets. All the characters are so finely drawn , you feel you know them. Even the "villains" are humanized. Each book works as a standalone, yet Nils' journey from laid off cop to acerbic P.I. to someone who values the people in his life is worth experiencing for yourself.
Profile Image for Jeremy Saldivar.
77 reviews1 follower
August 22, 2020
Another great read. Absolutely enjoy reading about Nils and his unraveling of murders. This book was a little slower than the others but as it picked up traction it got better and better. A lot of the book was focused on Jameson’s trauma, Nils new approached detective work because of Gabriella and Evelyn, and a new dilemma of working within the rules. The actual crime and events were clever and ultimately made sense, but in the beginning was methodical and had me wanting it to hurry up and develop. I feel like this book was more for in-depth characterization purposes for future readings than anything else even though I still enjoyed it. Matt Goldman has a way of writing that makes it seem like you’re watching a TV show. Just an all around brilliant book/series. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Lena Hurzook.
303 reviews
November 29, 2020
The story felt different as first...not the same style/formula as the previous books but as the story progressed, it came together and in the end tells another great story of Nils Shapiro and his adventure keenly solving a murder and getting in trouble in LA.
Profile Image for Tgordon.
1,031 reviews8 followers
October 5, 2021
Great end to a really great series! Or not the end is my hope! Niles finally has all he has searched for in life but will this book take it all away?
26 reviews
August 2, 2022
Another fun book by Matt Goldman. I've read all of the Nils Shapiro books and have enjoyed them all. His writing style is entertaining and everyone needs an Ellegaard and Jameson in their lives.

Profile Image for Larry.
1,402 reviews76 followers
August 21, 2020
Nils Shapiro (perfect name) is a private investigator who has never won a fist fight in his career, and who rarely carries his Glock, but criminals should avoid taking him on. He is a happy, humane person and plans to stay that way, even though his refusal to do things in a restrained way threaten both his security and his life. The conflict between security and commitment makes him very interesting, and the people around him are clever and interesting in their own right. His first case ("Gone To Dust") was the best, but I cannot wait for the next one.
36 reviews
August 21, 2020
Excellent book in the Nils series. I loved the travel to LA and how MG still tied it back in to Minneapolis (my own home town). Very much enjoy this author and look forward to many more books and reading adventures with these characters. Highly recommend and quick, easy read!
Profile Image for Adrienne.
1,289 reviews26 followers
October 20, 2021
Matt Goldman just keeps getting better and better. I love his witty Archie Goodwinesque detective, the improbably named, Nils Shapiro. Extremely enjoyable.
Profile Image for Luann.
766 reviews6 followers
August 16, 2020
Still a huge fan of Nils Shapiro. I enjoyed this one almost as most as the others I've listened to - I say almost because the narrator on this audible is different than the first three books which is disappointing. I got used to the narrator, but still don't like a new narrator after the first three books being read by the same one - it looses consistency. I do hope that Goldman goes "back in time" in an upcoming book to the time when Nils was working the Duluth murders - would love to hear more about that case since it comes up in every book.
Profile Image for Lisa.
267 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2020
Nils Sharpiro is back =) I love Matt Goldman's pacing in telling a story and the hidden humor throughout.
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