Dunne, Jul 2004, 23.95, 304 pp.
Russian expatriate Katerina Sterling hires the Midnight Detective Agency to find her missing husband, financial investor Anthony. His mom Victoria, owner of the private sleuth company, assigns the search to her son part-time investigator Jason Wilder. The relatively easy job turns ugly when Anthony pulls out a gun on Jason, who disarms the man. The River City police arrive almost immediately and quickly handcuff Jason until he is able to clear things up.
Anthony, insisting someone wants to kill him, is accused of murder until he too is found dead. Jason makes inquiries into the deaths thinking in terms of the Russian connection or the wealthy Sterling link as best bets. As Jason checks into the ties to the deceased, he is attracted to Anthony's sister Janice and starts thinking with his wrong head. Thank goodness Mommy Dearest would never let any harm come to her boy as she would not want to think she wasted nine hours in labor, but will Queen Victoria be able to get Anthony to look at the gig a bit differently.
Readers will enjoy this urban Noir starring a host of delightful characters. The relationships that Jason has fostered including the one with his dynamic mother are off beat, quirky and it is fun to observe the give and take. In many ways, Victoria steals the show with her hard ass love for her son. The case is well written and clever, but it is the cast that explains why Mike Siverling won the St. Martin's 2002 Best First Private Eye Mystery contest.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner