Shades of Harry Bosch! Wyatt Hunt, the lead character, is adopted and finds out his birth mother was murdered decades earlier. Of course he has to find the murderer. So the basic premise is taken right from Michael Connelly’s playbook, who probably took it from someone else. The differences are minor. Hunt is a private eye, while Bosch is on the job with LAPD. But in the end, the book works.
I’m a Lescroart fan and have loved some of his books. A couple weren’t up to snuff in my opinion, but here he is in fine form. The author doesn’t title his works as a series, but there are familiar faces in this one, which adds a comfort level to the story. It’s more than a little too touchy-feely for my taste, causing the plot to drag at times, but the prose is strong and clear. The dialogue, if overlong, is sometimes sappy, often snappy. Perhaps the best aspect of the book for me is that the investigation part, the core mystery solving, is mostly believable. There’s no deus ex machina here. As a retired FBI agent I am usually picky about ridiculous investigative methods or serendipitous revelations. The cell phone magic is a bit science fiction, but it turned out to be largely unimportant. Hunt follows logical leads in a methodical manner like real detectives do. I really like that.
As with most of his works, the main setting is San Francisco. I’m not a fan of that cold, dirty city but having some familiarity with the locations resonates to an extent. There is an added bonus that Hunt travels to a remote location where some of my wife’s distant relatives still live. I’ve never been there, but the vivid and appealing descriptions make me wish I’d taken the opportunity. We were invited there once long ago. One other aspect of the book that really worked is the tie-in to real-life historical events, which gave it a particularly creepy credibility.