An attorney and private eye takes on a missing person case, hoping it will also lead her to answers regarding her dead father, a fall guy for a murder rap, in Style’s (Codename, 2015, etc.) thriller.
Charlie Street’s reluctant to help Detective Remington “Remy” Malone. Her clientele generally consists of people in desperate need of assistance, not the son of a retired judge with both wealth and connections. But Street Law & Investigations is renowned for its detective work, precisely what Remy needs to find his best friend, Adam Bentley, a Detroit cop who’s been missing in action for six months. Charlie’s true incentive, however, comes from Remy’s list of people with a possible involvement. One name is Joey Drakar, whose testimony against her father, Alejandro Montoya, 25 years ago resulted in the man’s conviction for murder. She believes someone framed Alejandro, a murder victim himself a mere two weeks after his imprisonment. An undercover Charlie chats up potential lead Nick Johnson, a bartender and Drakar’s cousin. Remy, meanwhile, apparently unwilling to hand over sleuthing reins entirely, elbows his way into Charlie’s investigation. So when someone shoots at the two of them outside the bar, neither is sure who exactly the intended target is. Soon it’s abundantly clear that unsavory types don’t want the case solved—Adam’s disappearance, Alejandro’s frame-up, or maybe even both. Though not much of a mystery, the story features energized chase sequences and gunfights. Romance between Charlie and Remy seems inevitable from the beginning, but watching it happen is pure enjoyment. Remy’s physical attraction to Charlie, for example, develops into something more, while the lawyer reciprocates despite an initial assessment that Remy’s “hardly GQ material.” Thankfully, Charlie’s the most dazzling character (it’s her series, after all), skilled in martial arts and managing other cases as well, including an ongoing murder trial. By the final act, the plot relies too heavily on coincidence, and a twist at the end, while memorable, raises more questions than it answers. Still, it’s a near-perfect setup for later books: Charlie proves formidable in multiple capacities, and those taking shots at her can bet she’ll return fire.
A protagonist that readers should definitely want to see again, whether as a gumshoe, lawyer, or maybe action hero.