East on Sunset
A Will Magowan Mystery by Ken Mercer
Review: Life seems to be settling down for ex-LAPD narcotics cop Will Magowan — and that's just fine with him — when an ex-con that he put away years ago decides to settle a score in East on Sunset, the second mystery in this series by Ken Mercer.
Will has reconciled with his wife, they're planning for the arrival of their first child, and he's been hired as a security guard for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But his past life catches up with him when Erik Crandall, who he once busted for possession, gets out of prison and demands that Will give him the $500,000 that he stole. Will has no idea what Crandall is talking about, but soon starts to put the pieces together: all but a small portion of the fentanyl — a potent synthetic narcotic — that Crandall had when he was arrested disappeared before his trial, an amount worth about half a million wholesale on the street. Will, who was dismissed from the LAPD after abusing drugs — though there was no evidence that he stole any — has no credibility with his former co-workers, and his complaints about Crandall fall on deaf ears. With Crandall getting increasingly violent towards him and his wife and the authorities taking a wait-and-see attitude, Will decides to take matters into his own hands.
East on Sunset is a markedly different book from its predecessor, Slow Fire, which introduced Will Magowan, both in terms of story and character development, so much so that they hardly seem part of the same series. And all for the better. Decidedly better. This tautly plotted, perfectly paced novel of suspense works on several levels, not the least of which is how intricately integrated some of the plot points are within the overall storyline. None of the characters act out of character, as it were, which has the effect of lulling one into a false sense of familiarity with how the story is expected to unfold. There are no eye-rolling "gotcha" twists in East on Sunset; rather the reader will likely feel in the end as if they were being smartly played … and they are. This is a fine crime novel, and will almost certainly be recognized as one of the year's best.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of East on Sunset for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), February 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312558352; ISBN-10: 031255835X
Location(s) referenced in East on Sunset: Los Angeles, California
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East on Sunset by Ken Mercer — A Will Magowan Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: June 2011
List Price: $25.99