P.I. Clay Webster has a new client. What he doesn’t have is a finished office. He is using a room in a building owned by his son, Jerry, and it looks less like and office and more like a storage room. Still, Clay is open for business and when Bonita Esquivez hires him to find her husband, Lucky, Clay figures this is nothing more than a simple missing-person case.
That assumption is quickly proven wrong when an attempt is made on Bonita’s life and then Clay’s. The investigation is further complicated by the fact that Clay knows his client is lying to him about some things, but he doesn’t know which things are the truth and which are not.
There is quite an interesting back story to Clay Webster who has lost his thirty-year marriage, his son, Sean, and his police career. This back story is dolled out in tiny increments that are connected to the main plot, so they never seem intrusive. The reader gets to feel a little bit of the pain that Webster feels before he tries to cover it up with a bit of humor. It was a real pleasure to see how carefully the author brought this character to life, not by stopping the story to do that, but weaving it tightly into what was happening to Clay as the investigation progressed.
This is a good book with terrific dialogue, and Webster is a likeable character. Supporting cast includes a good friend who is an ex-nun, a teen-aged boy who was making prank calls to Webster so Webster hires him to do some work for him as his own form of community service, and a pair of gay men who are anything but stereotypical. All in all, a fun group of folks to spend some time with.
The mystery is a tangled web of politics and porn and Webster follows several wrong paths before he finds the right one. There is plenty of danger, too, as Webster gets too close to the truth about a certain politician, what Lucky was really doing in Lowell Massachusetts, and what happened to Lucky’s cousin.
What didn’t work quite so well for me was how the relationship between Bonita and Webster moved from her being just a client. It’s almost a cliche that a beautiful woman walks into a P.I.’s office and they become more than employer, employee. Sanchez did such a terrific job with turning some other cliches on end, I was hoping that he would turn this one, too, and maybe he did in a way. You will have to read to the end of the story to know for sure.
NOTE: I am a curmudgeon and very hard to please when it comes to a book. If I give one three stars it is because it is a good book and well worth someone’s time and money. It is not, however, an excellent book, one that I got really excited about reading, nor is it a great book that I want to read again and again. This is a good book.