Are the rich really different? Sure they are—they’ve got more stuff. That’s why you can hold them up.
Crystal Waters, a community stacked with Chicago’s privileged, is threatened by an extortionist. Dek (for Vlodek) Elstrom first learns about the threatening letter when Chief of Security Stanley Novak offers him a job. The bad guy, he’s told, wants money in exchange for not exploding houses worth over three million each, and Dek’s being recruited as a defense measure. He’s right for the work because he’s an experienced investigator and a former resident. Dek points out that his investigative experience is in paper trails, not people trails, and he was a resident only during a brief period that ended abruptly with the break-up of his marriage. For reasons not obvious to Dek, his arguments prove unpersuasive. So, needing the cash, he signs on. The investigation discloses two main suspects, the second of whom is Dek himself. Clearly, he’s being framed. Could it be that someone is worried? Dek knows he’s no Sherlock Holmes, but he can plug. And so he does, discovering in the process that he’s both smarter and braver than he thought.
Talky and occasionally pokey, but redeemed by expressive prose and an ingratiating protagonist with wit, style and courage. First of a series that could become quite good.