A man’s new Dallas PI business becomes personal when someone abducts a loved one in Langer’s (Personal Verdict, 2011) thriller.
Jack Crocker can’t cope with his PTSD from the Gulf War and his time in Iraq. His struggle with alcohol is the reason his wife, Crystal, is seeking a divorce, and it indirectly caused the accident that crippled his young son. Remedying his mistakes starts with opening C&M Investigations, a PI agency, with his nephew (and former Marine) Jimmy McGuire. At first, business is slow, but things heat up when Meredith Thomas, the personal assistant to the CEO at Templeton Corporation, hires the duo to sleuth out who tried to run her over in the company parking lot. It only escalates from there: Meredith seems to be hiding from someone dangerous, and an employee at Templeton Corporation turns up dead. Then one of Jack’s family members is kidnapped to warn him off the case; now Jack just needs to figure out which case. Though the mystery takes a while to begin (Meredith appears about one-third of the way in), Langer fully develops his cast. Jack and Jimmy, for example, swap stories: Jack tells of inadvertently injuring his son, while Jimmy recalls a horrific experience in Afghanistan. But the character development also helps set up the story for later, more suspenseful sequences, like Jack getting little help from local police when he needs it. The book ultimately leads to an exhilarating scene in which Jack and Jimmy track down the mysterious abductors, who not only threaten his family, but Meredith as well. There are also welcome lighter moments, especially Jimmy’s obsession with gadgets; he puts to good use a Batmobile-esque remote-controlled car mounted with cameras and a recording device disguised as a pen. Langer only falters with his editing, including giving different names and job titles for the same murder victim. The ending, complete with epilogue, offers a thorough resolution.
Addicting characters and gadgets.