This fifth installment of a series finds a detective tangled in the dangerous life of a private investigator.
Denny Alscher is a scientist working at Horizon Solar. He’s discovered a way to “weaponize the generation of liquid solar fuel” and hopes to sell the formulas. He meets his old friends Mitch Calantus and Larry Neaman at an abandoned school. When he realizes they plan to shoot him, Denny impales Mitch with a wooden picket. After escaping, Denny decides to hire a Portland, Oregon, area private eye to make it seem like he killed Mitch in self-defense. Enter 21-year-old Kathryn “Katt” Nugle, a feisty sleuth with a pink streak in her hair and a pet ferret, Gila. She’s also friends with the McAllister clan, six siblings committed to police and investigative work. Detective Matt McAllister has been determined to protect Katt since her kidnapping by the Biobotics company. Though 10 years separate the two, they share a fiery sexual tension that’s impossible to ignore. When Katt’s latest employer, Denny, leaves his bloodied jacket at their meeting—only to eventually fire her—she and Matt try to puzzle out the situation. Their struggle deepens as Denny’s fiancee, Molly, is found dead. Molly is the sister of Carina Frendal, an old flame of Matt’s who’s just re-entered his life. In this volume, Garrett (Carbon Replacements, 2018, etc.) continues to expand the McAllisters’ steamy and perilous world. While romance frequently overtakes the narrative’s thriller aspects, readers should appreciate the realism of lines like “Whenever undertaking assignments associated with increased risk,” Katt “smudged her license plate with mud.” The age-gap dynamic is explored well, as Matt resists Katt’s advances as long as possible, sure that “you should have a boy who sweeps you off your feet but can...meet you halfway, not one who...leaves you praying you can maintain your identity.” The author writes natural, often excellent dialogue, though she tends to overexamine her characters’ thoughts and feelings in the surrounding exposition. Nevertheless, Katt and Matt create a bond that readers should want to see fleshed out further.
A playful murder tale that should please longtime fans of this series and seduce new ones.