The Drowned Rat
Barry and Val have been friends since their early school days. They were complete opposites growing up, but initial growing pains, specifically a punch, cemented their friendship. Today, they have become successful in their careers. Barry is a troubleshooter IT professional, while Valentine is a Special Agent for the FBI. Barry is still close to his family, while Val keeps them at arm’s length. Barry has moved from his hometown in Kansas City to Cleveland, where the homesickness is almost instantaneous. Val is facing bigger problems, bypassing working with his ex-wife and a hate-hate relationship with a colleague. One of the FBI investigations has been compromised, multiple wiretaps have been blown, key witnesses have turned up missing. The US Attorney is in disbelief over Val’s concerns, thinking the witness just is AWOL. Meanwhile, Barry is facing multiple mysteries of his own. He has been the subject of multiple notes from a mystery woman named Holly who has been smitten with a man named Jimmy. The notes segue from fawning to creepy to blinking red. Barry is also afflicted with various illnesses that range from a mere annoyance to crippling. He powers through the afflictions to tend to his job, where he is admired, and to his new apartment, where he is the resident fix-it man. But as time goes on, things get stranger and worse. A possible relationship with an attractive woman goes sideways when Barry learns he is merely a pawn in a love triangle. Holly is appearing everywhere, but no one else seems to see her. While Barry gets worse, Val’s case is heating up. The missing witness has turned up dead, the case against the criminals is moribund, and a suspect seems elusive. But things change soon enough. Barry has tried everything to treat his various maladies, but a panacea is not forthcoming. His mind is starting to turn….Is Holly real? Are his interactions with others what they seem? Two friends, two mysteries….Can they be solved? Will both make it through?
The Drowned Rat is an excellent yarn that mixes humor, suspense, and heart all in one. The characters are well written, the dialogue is crisp, and the action moves well. The transition from humor to drama to steadily-building paranoia is well crafted. The payoff at the end is well worth the build-up. An excellent addition to your reading list for this year or next!
|Author||Brian L Gardner|
|Page Count||292 pages|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|