When Jack Centaur’s niece makes her modeling debut in a crime scene photo, he goes in search of her murderer in Wyte’s gritty debut mystery.
Centaur is a Vietnam veteran who’s a little banged up, but still functional. His military past guides him, but doesn’t rule him. He’s no grizzled, wiry soldier ruminating on his glory days; he keeps his Medal of Honor hidden in the back of a sock drawer. He’s just a 56-year-old man who sometimes stands in front of a mirror in his underwear wishing he’d followed his doctor's advice about cholesterol and exercise—not a typical action hero. But after his niece is killed, he finds himself pursuing the so-called Fashion Killer, who’s not done killing aspiring models yet. The novel’s noir-tinged prose (“It was just a simple breezeway. Not a dark alley. But it worked just as well for the guy who slugged me”) helps readers get to know Centaur as a man who will fix the situation the only way he knows how—with sheer determination. Author Wyte slowly and effectively reveals details of Centaur’s life, and of the Fashion Killer’s “art,” as the story progresses. Despite the fact that action heroes almost always come out on top, the author manages to make readers wonder if Centaur’s going to come up empty or even wind up dead. The author skillfully presents suspects and snatches them away, leaving readers, and Centaur, constantly casting about for the next lead. Although occasional spelling errors are a mild distraction, they do little to slow Wyte’s relentless storytelling.
A gripping, satisfying whodunit.