Five Star, Apr 2004, 25.95, 333 pp.
Recovering alcoholic Thomas Kyd has stayed on the wagon for six months, but knows that each moment is a challenge. Fourteen year old Hugo Vine visits the Santa Monica based private sleuth to hire him to investigate his mom and step-father. Thomas refuses to accept the teen as a client because he is underage. Hugo storms out of Thomas' office.
Not long afterward the lawyer to Hugo's mother renowned actress Sally Vine threatens to have Tomas arrested for aiding to the delinquency of a minor. Not concerned by the intimidation, Thomas tells Sally's retinue to go pound sand. However, Sally hires Thomas to keep an eye on her son who she worries is doing illegal things. However, Thomas soon learns that Hugo has deep questions as to whether his mother and his stepfather killed his father. The sleuth plans to learn the truth.
Thomas is an intriguing protagonist who is a combination nurturing hard boiled soul. The who-done-it takes awhile before it surfaces, but once it does it is fun to follow. Much of the early segment of the novel introduces the audience to Thomas. Readers who remain patient for the case to commence will enjoy this solid Southern California private sleuth tale starring a solid lead character and a delightful support cast.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner