St. Martins

Prior to reading this, Russel McLean was merely a likable fellow I shared a couple drinks with. That seemed reason enough to read one of his books. Thank goodness for those adult beverages because had I not been inclined to pick up The Lost Sister, I would have missed a hell of a good time.

J McNee is a former cop, now P.I. At the start of this tale, a reporter buddy hires him to dig into a local missing persons case. The person missing is a teenage girl that happens to be the god daughter of  local crime boss, David Burns. McNee’s initial thinking is that it must be connected to Burns, but his investigation uncovers secrets from the past that many would rather have kept hidden.

In McNee, Means has created an engaging and believable protagonist. He is no badass superhero, simply a guy that is just tough enough to survive the hazards of his chosen profession. He is smart and while he prides himself on being detached. he can’t help but be affected by the plights of those around him.

Just two novels into his career, McLean has the writing chops of a seasoned vet. His descriptions offer enough detail to a paint a picture without slowing down the story. The plotting is smart and tight and the characters. for the most part, avoid fitting into neat stereotypes and have depth.

The P.I. genre has traditionally been an American one, but Russel shows us that the world is indeed getting smaller and that folks like Elvis Cole, Bill Smith and Lydia Chin and Moe Prager are going to have overseas competition for spots at the top of the P.I. food chain.

Jeremy Lynch