Black NYC private eye Leonid McGill must get word to a white heiress bride-to-be that, apparent pigmentation notwithstanding, her racist, billionaire, murderous, supposedly-white dad had a Black father who’s alive and well in his 90s — that usually doesn’t turn out well.
Race is everything in Walter Mosley’s Trouble Is What I Do (Mulholland Books, 160 pages, $30), a wildly entertaining romp through New York’s underworld and the characters who feed off it, peppered constantly with digressing tales galore of mayhem and murder from nights of yore.
A great read, and a really really fast one — just how short can a book be and still be a book?
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The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency sleuths for a wife suspicious about her husband’s relationship with a woman allegedly teaching him math. It investigates an affluent woman now penniless — could her new sweet-talking self-ordained preacher be involved? It checks into a young woman suddenly driving a Mercedes who’s avoiding her mother.
Not that these dastardly deeds take up much space in Alexander McCall Smith’s To the Land of Long-Lost Friends (Alfred A. Knopf, 224 pages, $32); it’s primarily delightful conversation and tea in drought-ridden Botswana’s heat, as detective Precious Ramotswe engages in formality, euphemisms, talking in circles around issues, and constant digressions.
It’s a skill to make nothing happening entertaining.
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Psychic Seattle private eyes Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair weren’t believed when they witnessed a murder 15 years ago in the vast spooky caverns in their isolated mountain community of Fogg Lake — where a sinister lab blew up and released mysterious gases, giving everyone in town some level of a Krell brain boost.
Reasonable plot so far?
Surely a new round of murders wouldn’t involve shadowy government and evil private sector organizations trying to weaponize paranormal powers — like that could ever happen, eh?
Jayne Ann Krentz’s The Vanishing (Berkley, 294 pages, $36) is from an author who churns them out a mile a minute, but is darned entertaining.
You don’t need to be able to read minds to expect many sequels.
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Minneapolis forensic accountant and reviled whistleblower Nora Trier gets the call when some scoundrel embezzles the $20-million prize money a week before a world-class kickboxing tournament — a martial arts gym empire is at stake.
The empire in Mindy Mejia’s Strike Me Down (Emily Bestler Books, 336 pages, $36) is pretty much legendary tougher-than-a-superhero kickboxer Logan Russo and her scheming husband — golly, how really weirdly will Trier interact with them when the numbers don’t add up?
Who needs detectives with badges and guns when CPAs are this thrilling? A humdinger of a read.
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Manhattan entrepreneur Jo Greaver arrives at her blackmailer’s tenement with a gym bag stuffed with cash and a gun — one OK Corral later, her life gets really, like really, complicated.
Two quite decent but requisitely personally troubled visible minority cops are the only ones on the planet who think that Greaver is being framed by the moneyed elite acting badly.
Hilary Davidson’s Don’t Look Down (Thomas & Mercer, 368 pages, $25) is a pretty good and engaging thriller that gets a tad overly complex at the end.
Retired Free Press reporter Nick Martin always meets his blackmailers in busy public places, and invariably asks for proof the blackmailer will pay all appropriate taxes.