Title: The Little Death
Author: Andrea Speed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Jake Falconer, Kyle Gomez
POV: 1st Person
Jake Falconer, a hard-boiled detective in Echo City, is struggling with his love of booze, a square ex (and a cop, no less) he can’t get over, and a murdered partner. In sashays Sloane, an homme fatal whose twin brother has gone missing. The search leads them to a sex club used for blackmailing the city’s most powerful, and soon Jake finds himself hip deep in sex and danger—it’s a good thing he’s no stranger to slogging through either.
Echo City is in the hip pocket of noted crime boss Richard “Tricky Dick” Blunt—cops, elected officials, the wealthy and influential—are each, in a variety of ways, on the hook to the man. He knows their secrets, after all, the sort of secrets that can destroy a career and a life in a moment.
Jake Falconer is one of the good guys—flawed, yes, but he’s on the right side of the law. Mostly. His methods may be questionable but he uses his influence for good rather than evil, so he gets a pass for bending the rules a bit. Jake’s a private investigator and has recently lost his partner in a hail of gunfire, after which the crime was swept under the proverbial rug. There are a lot of questions yet to be answered, chief among them being who put the hit out on Spencer, and why? But the cops don’t seem all too enthusiastic to search further for the answers that died with the gunman.
Jake’s current case seems pretty benign on the surface; all he needs to do is find one Sander Granger, missing twin brother of the pouty, pretty, and potentially problematic Sloane Granger, who isn’t at all what he seems to be beneath the veneer of manipulative seduction. And therein lays the problem for Jake, who quickly discovers that he has gotten himself into a situation that’s being driven by something far more sinister and dangerous than a simple missing person case. Hustling, a private sex club, drugs, and extortion are all waiting to come out and bite him, and they do—hard.
Andrea Speed gets in touch with her inner noir in The Little Death, a great read from ”I knew he was trouble the moment he walked in the door” to ”Yep, things were indeed looking up.” Though the setting is contemporary, the atmosphere of this novella is pure classic mystery, the only thing missing was the fedora and the trench coat.
Jake Falconer is the perfect antihero, who I loved from the moment he spoke his first words. He’s the atypical hardboiled fictional detective: drinks too much, hasn’t been too lucky in love, is far from perfect, doesn’t always catch on to the details too quickly, but he’s absolutely nothing if not tenacious.
This is one of those books that I absolutely didn’t want to put down, I didn’t want to end, but when it did, I was excited to see that it looked like we’d be hearing more from Jake Falconer, I hope soon.
Reviewed By: Lisa