A Silas Cade Mystery by Mike Cooper
Review: Financial auditor Silas Cade fills in for a colleague on an assignment in Pittsburgh, not that he wants to get out of New York City but because he has personal business in the area, only to learn that the company he's investigating is in far worse shape than the conglomerate owners realize, in Full Ratchet, the second mystery in this series by Mike Cooper.
Silas's initial — and only — visit to Clay Micro is enough to convince him the whole company is corrupt, top to bottom. But it's what happens soon after he leaves that puzzles him: he's being pursued on two fronts, one local — by Russians — and one New York City by a mysterious woman, who wants to "extract" him. The Russians he can deal with; the woman, that's more troublesome in part because he had taken such pains to hide his identity and she seemed to have no problem whatsoever in finding him.
[I]t was one thing if someone wanted me dead — it happens, right? The kind of work I do, solving problems, sometimes they decide I'm the problem. it's all very unsubtle. But an extraction, that meant they wanted to talk. No possible good can come from talking.
Silas decides to set that aside and visit with Dave Ellins, a brother he didn't know he had, someone who had also found him (though far less directly) and asked that they meet. Orphaned as toddlers, they were brought up separately, neither knowing of the other's existence until Dave went searching for his birth parents. Their reunion visit, however, is disrupted by the Russians, who promptly blow up Dave's auto mechanic garage. Not one to run, Silas decides to learn why his investigation of an obscure company in Pennsylvania is generating so much attention from all the wrong people.
Silas Cade is a most interesting character, resourceful and quick on his feet, but paradoxically there's too much of his personal life mixed with not enough of his professional life here and the already thinly plotted story suffers. It starts strong, to be sure, but is quickly sidelined by the nearly nonstop action that dominates most of the narrative and isn't revisited until the closing chapters. On some level it's all great fun anyway … until Silas meets Harmony, the woman looking for him. They're in, basically, the same business but where he's low-tech and practical she's high-tech and intellectual. That they should immediately fall for each other makes absolutely no sense in any literary context, and the scene where they are joining forces, as it were, while shooting it out with the Russians is nothing short of ridiculous. Other plot issues: Silas and Dave bond, and Silas comes to depend on Dave, far too quickly; Silas's New York contact Ryan goes missing with no resolution to how or why; two murders of secondary cast members are never rationalized; the reasons behind the sale of Clay Micro are fuzzy at best and are never fully explained; and more. On its own, Full Ratchet is an exciting, if also seriously flawed, action thriller; as a follow up to the far better Clawback, it's rather disappointing.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Full Ratchet for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Viking (Hardcover), March 2012
ISBN-13: 9780670023295; ISBN-10: 0670023299
Location(s) referenced in Full Ratchet: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Full Ratchet by Mike Cooper — A Silas Cade Mystery
Publication Date: July 2013
List Price: $27.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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