Author: Adam Carpenter
Publisher: MLR Press
[xrr rating= 4.5/5]
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Jimmy McSwain returns to help his sister’s boyfriend fight a murder charge–and finds he may just have a lead on a cold case.
Hell’s Kitchen private investigator Jimmy McSwain returns in a twisting tale of past sins and present-day vengeance. Jimmy McSwain isn’t thrilled about taking a case for free but when his sister fears her boyfriend, Rocky, is cheating on her, he has no choice. But the case takes a deadly turn when Rocky is standing over the body of a man he was just seen kissing, and he’s holding the gun. He begs Jimmy to prove his innocence.
Meanwhile, as a sweltering heat wave claims New York City, a gunman with a thirst for blood is targeting Manhattan deli owners and has already claimed two victims. Jimmy knows a thing or two about thoseâ€”fourteen years ago his father was killed outside a deli, and it’s possible today’s killer could be linked to that unsolved murder, one that continues to haunt Jimmy. Enlisting the aid of sexy NYPD Captain Francis X. Frisano, Jimmy finds himself torn between the two cases, as well as the heat simmering between himself and the hot cop. Suddenly a quiet summer has erupted into a full blown crime wave.
These Jimmy McSwain mysteries are starting to hook me pretty darn good. They are heavy on the mystery, and though Jimmy dabbles in relationships with other men, or at least in starting them, they are not romance novels. And strangely, though not something I thought I’d like, I do indeed enjoy just about every minute of the books I’ve read so far in this series. Granted, in large part, that may be due to the outstanding narration of Joel Leslie, who happens to be my personal favorite narrator.
They are written and narrated like the old black-and-white TV shows of yesteryear. I can almost hear the voice in my head saying “There are eight million stories in the Naked City” as I listen to the narrative segments of these books.
In this story, there’s a lot going on, and yet the author gives plenty of time for each plot vignette to play out, often overlapping the next one, or circling back to a key issue. It’s never dull or boring—always with one more twist right around the corner as Jimmy gets involved in solving a murder allegedly committed by a childhood friend—his sister’s former boyfriend.
He also finally lands in bed with Captain Francis X. Frisano, the man with whom he had a quick backroom session in the last book. The tall, masculine, hairy, Italian cop might ride Jimmy about getting involved with his case, but does a better job riding him when they get to spend a night together. Sorry, I couldn’t resist saying that! But as Jimmy seeks answers in his case, a possibly related case keeps popping up to distract him—the hunt for the murderer of his father, who was killed over fifteen years before in front of a deli that was being robbed. The new rash of deli murders seems to point to a man who worked on the force with his dad at the time, a man who is now on the wrong side of the law.
Full of plot twists, highly interesting, a pretty sizzling sex scene, a satisfying conclusion, and narrated by Joel Leslie. What more could I want? I highly recommend this one for hours of exciting listening enjoyment.