"Terrific urban noir"
Russian expatriate Katerina Sterling hires the Midnight
Detective Agency to find her missing husband, financial
investor Anthony. His mom Victoria, owner of the private
sleuth company, assigns the search to her son part-time
investigator Jason Wilder. The relatively easy job turns
ugly when Anthony pulls out a gun on Jason, who disarms
the man. The River City police arrive almost immediately
and quickly handcuff Jason until he is able to clear
Anthony, insisting someone wants to kill him, is accused
of murder until he too is found dead. Jason makes
inquiries into the deaths thinking in terms of the Russian
connection or the wealthy Sterling link as best bets. As
Jason checks into the ties to the deceased, he is
attracted to Anthony's sister Janice and starts thinking
with his wrong head. Thank goodness Mommy Dearest would
never let any harm come to her boy as she would not want
to think she wasted nine hours in labor, but will Queen
Victoria be able to get Anthony to look at the gig a bit
Readers will enjoy this urban Noir starring a host of
delightful characters. The relationships that Jason has
fostered including the one with his dynamic mother are off
beat, quirky and it is fun to observe the give and take.
In many ways, Victoria steals the show with her cynical
love for her son. The case is well written and clever,
but it is the cast that explains why Mike Siverling won
the St. Martin's 2002 Best First Private Eye Mystery
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted May 31, 2004
Private investigator Jason Wilder has the toughest boss in River City: It's his mother. She and her husband were legendary police detectives when Jason was growing up. Wild Bill Wilder has since died, and Mom is running the detective agency they had founded with a loving but definitely iron hand.
Working under Mom (also known by her staff as "Queen Victoria" and "Her Highness") is adventurous, no denying that. Jason's present assignment, to locate a missing businessman, leads to some unexpected surprises. He locates the man in a dreary motel, with orders to return him to his worried wife. Instead, the man shoots at him. Before he can recover from the attempt, he is surrounded by police, who punch him, handcuff him, and inform him that his subject is wanted for homicide. From there the case expands, plunging Jason into some twisted bypaths. Why are the members of the suspect's family (including his enchanting sister) fighting tooth and nail over a dilapidated movie house the sister is restoring? Why was the dead man's body found just outside it? Is there something hidden there--and what? With Jason doing the footwork and Mom supplying the know-how, they get dangerously close, and Mom is going to have to take a hand herself.