The CEO Came DOA
Private Investigator Lee Alvarez is in trouble, as the protagonist of any mystery should be. On the professional front, millions of dollars of computer chips go missing on her watch, and the CEO of the company that developed the software hangs himself. On the personal front, Lee’s wedding is in less than a week, and her fiancé is absent, on a secret mission related to his work as a Naval Officer/former SEAL. Oh, and Lee’s beloved brother and partner is a new father.
The novel takes off with the murder of Collier, the CEO of Read-Out, a start-up company that manufactures implantable devices that monitor health conditions. Lee finds Collier’s body swinging from his office rafters when she arrives for work one morning. Collier hired her to investigate apparent sabotage within the company. Collier’s death quickly begins to look like murder, involving the mysterious drug Devil’s Breath. The active ingredient of Devil’s Breath is a chemically altered version of the same drug that treats seasickness, scopolamine. However, in the form of Devil’s Breath it is so potent it reduces its victim to a zombie-like state, compelled to follow commands. (There actually is such a drug, although these effects are apparently an exaggerated urban legend.) Added to this mix is Collier’s teenage daughter, her strange nanny, and her absent rock-star mom, Collier’s ex-wife. The investigation heats up and three murders follow Collier’s. It all ends with the persistent perpetrator who won’t die and keeps coming back.
I found the strongest part of the novel Lee Alvarez herself: strong, competent, and witty, in a growing tradition of tough female detectives. The novel is set in the heart of Silicon Valley and brings in a lot of the local color of that region. One area of improvement needed is the long lectures characters tend to give, in complete sentences, on the computer industry. Also at the end both the perpetrator and Lee treat us to long speeches, one on the motive and means and the other on the investigation of the crime. The writing skill is mostly solid. All in all, this is a strong work in the genre of the mystery/thriller.
|Wives of Bath Press
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|Mystery, Crime, Thriller