This is (I think) the fourth book in a series. I’ll say that this time, it would have helped to read the previous books to figure out PI Charlie Cameron’s history with his two friends and with the big bad guy, Sean Rafferty. That said, it can (and does, mostly) stand on its own, with enough fill-ins to not make it terribly confusing.
Charlie is approached by two women, separately, to help them with an issue. One is Kim Rafferty, the bombshell trophy wife of psychopathic gang leader Sean Rafferty who wants to leave him, and the other has a surprising connection to a man just released from prison, convicted of killing that same woman’s husband.
Thus we begin two separate story arcs: Rafferty’s is told from multiple viewpoints: Sean, Kim, a gangster from Portugal, the woman who runs Sean’s brothels – but not Charlie’s, as he declines. The other is told primarily from Charlie’s and Dennis Boyd’s. Charlie agrees to take the second, but very early on, he decides that maybe Boyd is guilty – one of the witnesses, for instance, who Boyd swore was lying on the stand, is found dead the night after Boyd is released. The optics of that, as far as Charlie is concerned, are terrible.
After meeting with Boyd, though, he agrees to help. Having the second witness of three turn of dead, too, is problematic, but Charlie realizes he was wrong: it does appear that Boyd, who had been sleeping with the man’s wife, and was the most likely killer, may be innocent after all.
Charlie’s no slouch, either. He doesn’t spend his day behind a computer, tapping away. He’s on the streets, chasing down clues, finding people, and sometimes pissing off his pal who is with the police. When he says he’s taking a case and will work it, that’s exactly what he does.
Not a lot of plot details in this review, as the entire thing would need to be spoilered.
The writing is quite good, and while sometimes Charlie can be a bit of a smartass, can’t we all? Dialogue has no issues – no one is working overtime to be cutesy or coy, or occasionally witty. It flows nicely, and even a few rapidfire sections are not difficult to follow.
The dual stories are both interesting in their own right, although the Rafferty storyline was wrapped up in just a handful of pages, including a somewhat not easy to believe escape at the end, which was a bit out of sorts for the book until that point. There’s a kind of, maybe, cliffhanger on that one, but I can’t say why, lest I spoil it. The Boyd story – well, you’ll just have to read it, and I recommend you do if police/PI mysteries are your thing.
A solid four out of five stars.
Thanks to Boldwood Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.