Review: The Cana Diversion by William Campbell Gault

This is the 9th book of the Brock Callahan series and it also serves to effectively bring an end to Gault’s other long-running series featuring PI Joe Puma. The book won the 1983 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original PI Novel.

Book Details

Title: The Cana Diversion
Author: William Campbell Gault
Pages: 219
Published Date: 1981
Publisher: Raven House 29
Series Details: 9th book in the Brock (The Rock) Callahan series

Buy A Hardcopy

Buy eBook

Publisher's Synopsis

While tangling with radicals, Brock stumbles on a colleague’s corpse.

Brock Callahan, ex-private investigator, is still not used to wealth and retirement. In fact he is struggling through a game of golf when the clubhouse calls with the curious news that his wife is in jail, pulled in at an anti-nuclear protest. Callahan hires Joe Puma, private detective and onetime peer, to post bail for the budding radical. A few days later, Puma is dead, and Brock begins to wonder where the student movement’s shadowy roots lie. The agitators want to stop the proposed Mirage Point reactor, which sits at the intersection of mob money, corrupt utilities, and the violent rage of the radical fringe. And as Callahan knows all too well, California doesn’t run on nuclear energy; the state is powered by the dirtiest fuel there is—old-fashioned, murderous greed.

From the Dustjacket

He made a stupid mistake and it cost him his life!

Joe Puma had been a private investigator for a long time. He should have known better than to meet a stranger on the outskirts of town – especially a stranger with Mafia connections. It was a mistake that Puma didn’t live to regret.

Brock Callahan was another detective. He had worked a lot of cases with Joe Puma, and he couldn’t let his friend’s murder go unsolved. So he scoured the town searching for the reason for the killing, because he knew that when he found the reason he’d also find the killer.

Unless the killer found him first!

Reviews From Other Sites

Goodreads Reviews

This book takes place during the revival of the Brock Callahan series in the sixties. Brock is rich, married, and a little bored, and living in an exclusive small town.

When his wife is arrested for protesting a proposed nuclear reactor, Brock goes to throw her bail, and meets fellow PI (and Gault series character) Joe Puma. A few days later, Puma disappears...- Read All Reviews

At the time of writing there are 6 reviews posted to the GoodReads website for an average of 3.7/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the GoodReads website.

For some reason I thought this would be a book that had two of Gault's longstanding Private eyes teamed up together to solve an important case. It would sort of like Batman and Superman teaming up. Unfortunately the two great Private eyes are only in one brief scene together...- Read All Reviews

At the time of writing there are 4 reviews posted to the Amazon website for an average of 3.4/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the Amazon website.

Other Shamus Best Paperback Original PI Novel nominees - 1983

Pieces of Death


Jack Lynch

Smoked Out


Warren Murphy