In debut novelist Reeve’s (Starting with a Quart of Tomatoes, 2009) Seattle-set series starter, a young legal eagle finds himself tangled in a web of corporate intrigue and murder.
Twenty-nine-year-old Harmony Piper—an associate attorney at law firm Piper Whatcom & Hardcastle, and the granddaughter of one of the named partners—is missing. She’s always been hardworking, extraordinarily reliable, and well-liked. Indeed, fellow associate Jack Hart, who’s a year younger than Harmony, is smitten with her. He becomes concerned when he notices a tiny spot of blood on the carpet of her office. Security tapes reveal that she left the building, crying, via the freight elevator at 2:11 a.m. the previous night. The police aren’t impressed with his investigations—until the next day, when Detective Anthony and Officer Oden arrive to report that the body of Harmony’s father, Humphrey Piper II, has been found stuffed into his own suitcase, which had been offloaded from a plane in Fukuoka, Japan. “It was a big bag,” notes Anthony. “And he was a little man.” Humphrey had established, and was running, the firm’s Asian division. In between writing legal briefs and interrogatories, Jack becomes immersed in the ensuing investigation, eventually putting his own life at risk. But as the body count increases, Harmony is nowhere to be found. Reeve is an attorney herself, and she packs this page-turner with enough legal maneuverings and insider jargon to keep most genre readers satisfied. She mixes in a healthy amount of Jack’s backstory as she unspools the complicated mystery plot, which occasionally stretches the limits of credulity; however, she keeps things running along at a consistent pace. Jack narrates the tale, and readers learn a lot about him early on when he tells the story of why he took in his “starving, mistrustful, half-psychotic” dog, Betsy, who’d followed him home: “I knew what it was like to be beaten up and abandoned.” His relationship with the quirky Betsy adds levity to the proceedings and provides some of the book’s most tender scenes.
An impressive novel that gives fans of legal thrillers a rising star to follow.