First Sentence: The way he paced recklessly in front of me, bouncing off the furniture, tripping on the throw rug/ the way he looked at me with unblinking eyes—I decided the kid was messed up.
Former police detective, now unlicensed investigator, Rushmore McKenzie is asked for a special favour; find out her killed the father of a friend. But nothing is simple and one case leads to another unsolved murder and a particular group of friends.
Housewright is very good at the concise; from the very beginning, we know who are the primary characters. We also have background on McKenzie and, through his internal voice, how he thinks and who matters to him. Knowing these things is of particular advantage to those jumping into this series for the first time.
In addition to MaKenzie's investigative talents; he cooks—“braised boneless pork ribs simmering in gravy laced with chili powder; mashed potatoes seasoned with onion salt, black pepper, butter, cream cheese, sour cream, and chives; plus green beans and pecans sautéed in chicken broth and maple syrup.”—cautions one to not read when hungry and reminds one a bit of Robert Parker’s Spencer.
Housewright’s dialogue is easy, natural, and, at times, quite delightful—“Do you think that the killer might be at the party?” she asked. “That is so Agatha Christie.”
The plot is very well done. There are plenty of twists to keep one off guard and surprised. The unexpected is always a very good thing.
“What the Dead Leave Behind” has an excellent protagonist and a very well done plot that goes unexpected places. Learning where everyone ends up is very refreshing.
WHAT THE DEAD LEAVE BEHIND (Unl. PI-Rushmore McKenzie-St. Paul, MN–Contemp) - VG
Housewright, David – 14th in series
Minotaur Books – June 2017