Excellent First Book!
This is a great book! The premise is good, and the pacing is consistent. The setting floats between Minnesota, New York, and Las Vegas. The timeline covers around 4-5 months starting in September of, I think, 2013. Jake (in his early-mid 30's) is a former Marine who now works as a private investigator in Minnesota. For those who prefer to know these things, there are some swear words scattered throughout the book. There is graphic violence. There are no graphic love scenes, but there is frank talk about some photos of an explicit nature.
The dialogue is smart, disturbing, sometimes dryly amusing, and realistic. The conversational flow starts out a little stilted for, approximately, the first 1/4 of the book. Jake's first encounter with Heather (a lawyer as well as the potential love interest) is kind of clumsy. But, as the story progresses, the conversational flow smooths out and sounds much more natural. The conversations between Jake and Heather improve exponentially. The characters have depth. They are believable. In fact, the bad guys are very scary, because they are all too believable. Jake is smart, brave, honest, and tough. He is a likeable protagonist. I like that the author portrays Heather as strong, smart, and determined.
The mystery is a "simple" missing persons case that turns into a national, and international, ring of blackmail, corruption, and murder. The actions starts from the first page and doesn't let up. The mystery is resolved. This is NOT a cliffhanger.
I'm sad to say I cannot find more books featuring Jake Tanner as the protagonist. I hope the author will consider writing more of them. I love all genres of books, and many styles within each genre. Mysteries and suspense/thrillers are my favorite.
The first lot below are, like this book, darker p.i. mysteries.
1. The "Dan Reno" series by Dave Stanton
2. The "Dent Miller" series by D.L. Barbur
3. The "Riley King" series by Richard Neer
4. The "Rafferty" series by W. Glenn Duncan
5. The "Owen McKenna" series by Todd Borg
This next lot are p.i. mysteries of a more comedic nature, because laughter is important:
1. The "Stanley Bentworth" series by Al Stevens
2. The "Shady Hoosier Detective Agency" series by Daisy Pettles
3. The "Tiger Eye Mysteries" series by Alyssa Day
4. The "Miss Fortune" series by Jana Deleon (this one evolves into a p.i. series)
5. The "Archie Lemons" series by Grant Fieldgrove
(review of free book)