A rumpled Massachusetts reporter gets the hottest leads on a dangerous story from his long-lost brother, a prison inmate.
After quitting a tough gig at The Daily Empire, Lowell writer and journalism professor Eddie Bourque, whose hero is Jack Kerouac, finds life at the alternative weekly Second Voice nicely laid-back, even though he gets no respect. A timely tip on the kidnapping of millionaire Roger Lime, presumed dead after over a year, lifts Eddie’s mood and gives him a scoop that beats the dailies and enhances his reputation. It also earns him better access to police detective Lucy Orr, a starchy, middle-aged workaholic whose relationship with Eddie suggests the chemistry of a prickly old married couple. But Eddie gets a troubling curveball in the form of a phone call from Henry, the imprisoned older brother he’s never met. When Henry claims he’s innocent, Eddie begins poking into his case and following up some spot-on leads on Lime that his brother feeds him. He’s aided and prodded by Henry’s bride Bobbi, a blowsy blonde with multiple ex-husbands and dubious motives. Meantime, somebody is killing those close to Eddie’s investigation, including his editor at the Voice and a colorful career criminal named Jimmy Whistle.
Few surprises in the plot, but Arsenault (Spike, 2004) is a crackling good stylist with a knack for quirky characters.