A killer for hire is the prime suspect in a case she’s asked to help the lead detective solve.
Sitting in the divey Algonquin, retired personal assassin (as she calls herself) Candace Starr is propositioned by a Botoxed 50-something blonde woman in all the wrong ways. Candace describes herself as “an equal opportunity employer when it comes to sex,” but the woman wants something else: for her teenage daughter’s wastoid boyfriend, Tyler Brent, to be killed. Though Candace refuses the gig, Tyler is dispatched the very next day. Does this mean there’s another killer for hire around town in addition to Candace and her Uncle Rod? The cops think no, which means Candace may have to prove her innocence, but Officer Chien-Shiung Malone offers Candace a deal: She’ll provide Candace with inside information if Candace will work with her to solve the case. Candace has wondered for five long years about her father and mentor Mike Starr’s murder. Assuming that one gun for hire should be able to find another, Malone is willing to give Candace access to case files if Candace can help with Tyler’s murder. Candace isn’t predisposed to trust Malone, but the cop’s identity as an outsider, an Irish Asian cop in Canada and a woman in a man’s field, goes a long way toward building a working relationship, and it’s not long before Candace’s brash questioning style and no-holds-barred candor have Malone rolling her eyes with more amusement than annoyance. The characters and relationships O’Cinneide (Petra’s Ghost, 2019) develops are so idiosyncratic and distinctive that they can distract you from the plot, so the final twist or two may disconcert readers who’ve forgotten that there was ever an investigation in the first place.
Strongest when it focuses on the heroine, a tough, deadly type who just might surprise you.