The problem with reviewing is often more books come than I have time to do in a timely manner. This was the case here as this book arrived just after the start of the year and as the weeks passed got shuffled down to the bottom of the pile. That is never a good thing to happen and certainly not here as this is a very good book.
A Dirty Business: A Kevin Bailey Novel
By Joe Humphrey
Large Trade Paperback
Kevin Bailey is back in New York City after a year of being away and nothing much has changed except him. The second of January finds him in need of a job. He uses a connection, calls in a favor and before long by being in the right place at the right time, (despite his total non-experience and maybe directly because of it) he is quickly working for Frank Givens. Givens owns a private investigation agency and Kevin Bailey plans on learning the business from him.
While he gradually reconnects with his past, Bailey is eased into his first case. It is supposed to be a simple one perfect for a novice investigator. Selena Eldridge is a wealthy woman and has a son named Edward. Edwards intends to marry and the lucky woman is one that his mother feels strongly is below their station in life. Mom says that the woman is, “…of a different social class, and I suspect she has designs on our fortune. Look into any dealings her family has been involved with, and unearth as many damaging secrets as you can manage. But stop at nothing until the full truth concerning this woman is in the open.” (Page 26)
Givens takes the case and assigns Bailey to it as it should be something easily handled by him. Before long, Bailey is chasing clues, getting beaten up, and getting nowhere with the case in this fast paced mystery reminiscent of classic mystery novels. Bailey himself is an interesting character with little revealed but a lot hinted at and a determination to resolve issues from the past that are never really disclosed. Bailey seems to be carrying a load of personal guilt but the reasons why or what happened are never explained. Then there are the secondary characters such as Givens who also have a lot of potential should this series go forward and at the same time manage not to take over the novel.
The result is an engrossing 184 page read that reminds one of the style and tone of the class mystery novels and yet is clearly set in current times. Along the way, Bailey hints about his past and chases clues in a case that constantly twists and turns surprising Bailey and the reader. The book is a very good read that when finished leaves the reader eagerly anticipating another installment in the series.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2007