Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Last Private Eye: Michael Rhineheart, P.I. by John Birkett

This book tastes a lot like the classic noir of the past.  Michael Rhineheart doesn't like someone telling him what to do, so he works for himself.  He has a mentor, who is now old and basically retired, that trained him in the PI business.  He also has a secretary that doesn't type very well and wants to be a PI, too.  He drinks bourbon, is willing to fight back with force and he's going to do the job he was hired for whether he gets paid or not.  When a journalist asks him to look for a missing person who had a big story about the Kentucky Derby, he does.  That was a bad choice...

Witness Impulse and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published December 30th, so you don't have long to wait before you can grab it.

Michael is an interesting man.  He was married once and lost his young wife and the child she was carrying in a freeway accident.  He doesn't even talk about her now.  The little lady he's hired as his secretary is tiny and not much of secretary but she gives him tit-for-tat and keeps asking to go along on his investigating trips.  Most she can't because of the danger, but he does have her do data searches and other errands.

When he begins to look for the missing stable hand, he finds himself getting deep in the politics of horse racing.  To him, it feels like he's stepping in horse shit.  Is the guy just missing, or is he dead?  What happened to his wife?  And why do the two competing owners seem to be friendlier than they ought to be?

These questions and more will be answered before the end of the story.  This is a rough and tough story with victims all around.  Michael feels like he failed but his old mentor tells him that happens often in life.  You just have to get over it and move on.  Sounds like good advice to me.

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