Hard-boiled ex-cop Candace “CW” McCoy tries to keep her cool as she solves a case of embezzlement, kidnapping, and murder in the Florida heat.
Widmer (The Spirit of Swiftwater, 1998) makes his first foray into fiction with this introduction of CW McCoy. A former cop, CW—don’t call her Candy—left the force after a disastrous shooting gone awry and the end of her marriage. She moved to the beach town of Spanish Point, Florida, and has started a second career as a realtor. However, her attempts at a quieter life are shaken up by the appearance of Bobby Lee Darby, a fugitive hedge fund manager who has faked his own death after bilking his investors out of millions. Darby claims his innocence and asks CW to help him prove it, but when she balks, he kidnaps her ailing grandfather and forces her hand. Now, she must face her worst fears and dive back into the investigative business, relying on old friends to help her find her grandfather and solve the case as it grows more and more complicated—and deadly. Widmer has a great sense of place; he easily brings the town of Spanish Point and its colorful cast of characters to life. CW is a great character—a noir detective trying to outrun her own past, suffering no fools along the way. She also has a few potential love interests that pop up, men who truly seem to admire her impulsive toughness. Some of the dialogue is a little contrived, though, as CW says too many lines like “My Nana used to tell me I had a mouth” that seem straight out of a Bogart movie. Also, at the novel’s end, a few too many loose ends of CW’s personal story remain untied, though that leaves room for more volumes in the series. Hopefully there’s a bit more resolution in store.
An entertaining mystery romp.