Matt Coyle’s gripping noir novel Wrong Light showcases a world-weary PI battling old adversaries in a complicated femme fatale case.
Retired cop turned private investigator Rick Cahill’s newest case seems easy enough at first: find and stop nighttime radio host Naomi Hendrix’s stalker, who is waiting to enact a bizarre revenge fantasy. Cahill’s intuition flares up; he suspects Naomi is hiding a painful past.
His initial attempts to dig up the truth only put more innocents in danger. Before he can make any headway regarding Naomi’s stalker, Cahill becomes swept up in a hunt for a serial killer and a black-market stem cell scam. The Russian mob complicates matters by calling in a favor that’s actually a setup.
An abducted witness and the prime suspect are found dead, leaving Cahill no closer to solving the original stalker case. The Russians’ machinations reach a fatal conclusion. Cahill faces losing everything.
Cahill is the least sympathetic character in this installment. His failures, and the darkness of his job, begin to wear him down, and the means by which he rights the wrongs become increasingly morally suspect. He often acts before fully realizing the consequences of his actions, leading to tense moments—and perhaps too many deaths.
Surprising and complicated questions are raised. The detective is constantly on the move through this well-paced thriller, making mistakes and struggling to glean information and insights.
This fifth book in the Rick Cahill series builds upon previous story lines wonderfully. Its emotional conclusion rewards longtime readers but will be emotional for newcomers as well.
John M. Murray
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