Rob Leininger’s Gumshoe in the Dark is a twisty mystery that benefits from dark humor and unforgettable characters.
Mort is an ex-IRS agent and a current PI who has a knack for finding high-profile dead bodies. He’s on his way to a small Nevada town to find a hustler who stands to inherit over half a million dollars when he encounters a half-naked girl with a gun on a lonely desert highway. Before he knows it, he and the girl, Harper, are on the run from some very bad men. They get wrapped up in the disappearance of Harper’s mother, the Nevada attorney general.
Mort and Harper are attracted to each other, but he’s devoted to his wife, Lucy. With Lucy’s help, Mort vows to keep Harper safe. He continues to chase down his quarry and uncover clues about what happened to Harper’s mother. But as the dead bodies start to multiply, Mort knows that his and Harper’s days might be numbered.
This hard-boiled mystery is appealing because of the humble lead at its center. The outrageous banter and flirtation between Mort and Harper give the book a satisfying air of nostalgic unreality. Paired with Mort’s clear love for his wife, his new relationship has a playful, nonthreatening feel.
With several mysteries occurring at once, the book reveals clues to each in almost every chapter. The ties between events start to combine in the last quarter of the novel. When Harper and Mort run afoul of the bad guys, they’ve become such distinct characters that concern for their well-being is almost palpable. Gumshoe in the Dark is a wild, funny joyride of a mystery novel.
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