Harry Starke is a complex character. The picture on the book cover gives the impression that he's a bit of a thug but he's basically a good guy, albeit with a few character flaws and a somewhat chequered past. He works as a private investigator, his dad is a hot shot lawyer (handy for pulling a few strings) and his girlfriend Kate is a cop, so he is often called in on the fringes of police work. He has slightly unorthodox methods, which seem to mainly consist of shaking the hornets' nest and waiting to see what comes out.
He also seems to have an uncanny ability to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time and the story starts with a young woman, who he had spotted in a seedy bar earlier in the evening, running across a bridge, throwing him a terrified look then throwing herself to her death in the icy waters below. As her death would appear to be a suicide, the police can't get involved so Harry takes on the case and finds himself swept up in a sordid web of corruption, local crime and murder.
It's an action-packed easy read that will appeal to readers of both sexes, but there were a few aspects that left me feeling sightly disgruntled. I'm not a prude so I didn't have a problem with the idea of a secret sex club but it did annoy me that he had sex with basically everyone he came into contact with - it seemed unecessary in terms of plot as well as unethical (both as an investigator and someone in a relationship), so it made me empathise less with Harry. The unexpected discovery that one of the victims is transgender was equally unnecessary and brought absolutely nothing to the story so it just made me feel slightly grubby reading it. The story has enough action going on that it doesn't need to be sexed up just for the sake of it.
This is the first book in a new series, with Harry being the main focus. We discover that he is a bit of a bad boy but working for good, that he's not averse to a bit of risk and violence and he's a total womaniser. By the end of the book, he seems to have realised that his relationship with Kate is going nowhere, but I would think they will get back together or I don't see how he will manage to keep getting involved in police work if she's no longer on the scene. It's an enjoyable read with an action-packed plot. I'll certainly be looking out for book two to see what further scrapes Harry gets himself into, and also if he redeems himself in the girlfriend stakes !
star rating : 4/5
Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.