A PI operates his firm with a tattooed female partner in this Pacific Northwest noir.
Look out, Seattle, there’s a new private eye in town: Danny Logan—retired Army (Afghanistan), with a criminal justice degree and FBI Advanced Training from Quantico—runs a professional investigation business with Antoinette “Toni” Blair, the Seattle native and requisite female sidekick. She sees Danny as “completely brilliant in certain aspects, barely better than adolescent in others. Clear insight in certain areas, barely able to see to the end of his nose in others.” His take on her? “Think Katie Perry with tattoos. Taller, ‘grungier,’ but the same beautiful face, same breathtaking figure, same medium-length black hair, same brilliant blue eyes. No denying, Toni is easy to look at.” Office policy has helped them remain hands-off so far. Their newest case adds more roadblocks and delays to their romance when the lovely, controlling, daughter-of-a-mobster Gina—who happens to be a previous romantic interest of Danny’s—goes missing and her anxious family hires Danny to look in places the local police can’t. Contemporary language and issues abound (marijuana-growing operations, Mexican drug cartels, Chicago mob family members) and Northwestern readers will particularly enjoy the many local landmarks and references. With clean editing, vetted police procedures and sound research, Grayson’s tale makes for easy reading. Dialogue is solid, entertaining and only occasionally clichéd (“I was just about to...throw her down and make a woman out of her when she broke it off—just in time”). Fast-paced with brief timeouts for reflection by the somewhat angst-ridden, music-loving Logan, the plot is interesting, carefully thought-out and perhaps a little far-fetched and reminiscent of a particular Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie surprise ending. In fact, this first installment of a planned series has a definite but not unpleasant screenplay style. The story zips right along: straightforward with more action than introspection, explanation over exploration, and just enough rationalizing by Danny to explain away any doubt we might have about his decisions.
With two more books in the works and a cast of interesting characters awaiting development, this author is worth watching.