Mandy PI, ex-pat Englishman, ex-Santa Monica PD cop, ex-actor, is in debt and desperate for work. He jumps at the chance to try to find the killer of a business tycoon’s son Pedro García-Márquez. The fact that he has been recommended for the job by the SMPD chief, when their mutual dislike is legendary, does raise warning signs which he has to ignore for the time being. He needs the money, not only for his own survival, but to help try to beat his ex-partner’s cancer.
The police chief claims he is too busy dealing with the high profile killing of a city dignitary to spare the manpower, but his two faithful bloodhounds are soon on the trail; not of Pedro’s killer, but Mandy himself.
Although Pedro was gay, his dear friend, the beautiful Lucy Lack flies from London to marry him, in the company of a Catholic priest who is there to help comfort the city’s homeless, who seem to be disappearing, one by one. Mandy greets them at the airport to be the one to give them the news of Pedro’s death.
Benny Tan owns an extremely successful tropical fish business. Could it be the perfect cover for other profitable traffic? The odd coincidence of the body of a man with a British passport, found in a suitcase on the beach being the same man as one on the incoming flight with Lucy and the Priest, points to a connection.
Perhaps too convoluted. There are nearly fifty characters to get your head around.
Coincidence that make a PI’s nose twitch are good. Coincidence that make the reader’s brow wrinkle are less so.
But, if you don’t get your knickers in a twist about that, and you don’t mind details of Mandy’s gastronomic intake, the exclusion of which might knock twenty pages off the length, the threads all come together in the end. I did find this to be an enjoyable read.
Reviewed by Peter J. Earle.
Thank you, Ianthe Jacob of Blue Baltic Publicity, for sending this to Bookpostmortem. The Santa Monica Suicide Club comes out this month, October 2015.