In Brown’s debut thriller, a Massachusetts private eye’s search for a missing person quickly turns into a murder case involving wealthy people with secrets.
Earl Town runs his PI business out of his apartment, and many of his clients are walk-ins, like Joanna Hill, whose boss at Boston-based Wayne Trust, James “Mac” MacArthur, has disappeared. Mac inexplicably vanished a week ago, but Joanna seems to be the only person in his life who’s concerned. Earl questions Mac’s two ex-wives, but the case ultimately moves to the Indian Head Yacht Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, where Mac keeps his boat. The PI is assuredly out of his element among the affluent club members, but it’s clear that he’s on the right track when he sneaks aboard Mac’s yacht and finds a body—before an unknown assailant knocks him out cold. After he comes to, he’s more determined than ever to solve the murder case—even after two FBI agents warn him to stop interfering with their case. As his pool of suspects increases, he starts a potentially dangerous romantic relationship with someone tied to the case. It turns out that some of Mac’s associates have something to hide—and may be willing to kill to keep those things hidden. Earl’s blue-collar background is the source of much of his appeal, and the author seems to share Earl’s dim view of the wealthy; many rich characters are deceitful, condescending, or generally unsavory. There are, however, a few exceptions, including the winsome Joanna, who eventually assists Earl with his investigation. There’s also Eddie Chase, his bright but lackadaisical hacker nephew. The mystery is a slow-paced procedural, but this befits the PI, who’s also a former cop. There aren’t very many twists and turns, and the ending won’t surprise every reader. However, Earl, as a character, will most certainly gain some fans.
A standard murder mystery that’s enhanced by its wily sleuth protagonist.