Swift Run by Laura DiSilverio
This book inspires me to culinary metaphors. It starts off as one of those bland meals. The kind of thing you only eat because it’s food and you’re hungry. Indeed, as you make steady progress through it, your tolerance for what little flavour it started with grows stronger. The tastelessness becomes more dominant. You wonder whether you can finish it. At this moment, you make a policy decision. Stop forcing yourself. Make a sandwich to complete the feeding process and the remnants of the meal go into the fridge. Yes, I know all this housekeeping content is a little tedious, but it’s what you discover the following day that make all this relevant. You come back to the meal, throw it into the microwave and stick in the fork. There’s a delightful revelation. The overnight resting has worked a miracle. What was an effort to eat becomes a quick wolfing down and a transitory sadness it’s gone all too quickly. Now you look speculatively at the recipe and wonder whether you should make it again and this time leave it overnight before trying to eat it. Or perhaps it was just a psychological problem. The mind was somehow distracted and a rest brought reinvigorated interest.
Swift Run by Laura DiSilverio (Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books, 2012) is the third in the series featuring Charlie Swift and Gigi Goldman. The brief version of the backstory is that Charlie was running a PI business and Gigi’s husband, Les, invested in it. When Les ran off with a younger woman, taking large amount of embezzled cash with him, Gigi drifted into working with Charlie. This is not the usual meeting of two like minds. Charlie is ex-military and tough, while Gigi is rather more scatterbrained and into retail therapy as the way of coping with her unhappiness. Shopping worked well as a distraction when her husband was paying the bills but, after he left with all their money, she struggles to find enough to cover the basic essentials. Anyway, after two adventures, Charlie is walking wounded after being shot — fortunately not by Gigi which is why this unusual friendship persists. This leaves Gigi holding the fort.
She’s not best pleased when the first potential client through the office door is the jezebel who seduced Les and destroyed her happiness. Unfortunately, the strumpet comes bearing a wad of cash and a sad story of Les running out on her. Against her better judgement, Gigi agrees to find her ex. Playing cupid to reunite the love birds is not exactly what she was looking forward to, but the cash will help with the bills. With this inauspicious beginning, Gigi tracks down her husband and commits the unforgivable sin of sleeping with him. Now thoroughly confused about what she wants, Gigi must try to find a calm centre in her inner turmoil. A task made more difficult by the discovery of the floozy’s body. Fortunately the police don’t think Gigi has it in her to be a murderer, but when the surveillance records from the hotel show her seventeen-year-old son going into the trollop’s room, there’s just a chance he might have seen the killer. Except he’s not around to ask.
Let’s pause here. This is a PI story growing out of the mundane details of people’s lives. In theory, this is how I prefer plots to develop. A messy divorce, the wife struggling financially, the missing husband wanted by the police on multiple charges of theft and embezzlement, and the surly teen son and daughter, are the raw materials out of which real dramas can be made except, for some reason, I sailed through the opening half completely unmoved. I concede there’s a vague sense of humour about the situation as it unfolds. But a ditzy woman who’s more interested in what to wear and her latest pair of shoes than in dealing with life is not really a character that resonates with me. I’m more interested in Charlie who’s altogether more sensible albeit potentially caught between two men, a detective and an Episcopalian priest. Indeed, had it not been for her and the eminently sensible Albertine who runs the comfort-food restaurant in the same block as the PI office, I would have put the book down permanently. But there was just enough. . . Very slowly, the investigation begins to turn up some interesting hints about the murder victim’s past and, with Charlie and the Episcopalian going above and beyond in heavy snow, a pattern begins to emerge. In the end, I was quite interested in the mystery. Although I thought it was fairly obvious who must have killed our seductress, I had absolutely no idea why nor how it was all tied into Les. That actually proves rather ingenious. Anyway, thanks to Charlie, Gigi does not go to jail for various quite serious offences including assault and kidnapping, and all seems to be resolved not unsatisfactorily for our investigative duo. I suppose I look on Swift Run as a slow burner that comes good at the end (including a quite amusing climax as two waves of armed officers swing into action only to find a gift-wrapped surprise). So there you have it. With a little patience, you actually come to a very good mystery to solve. Swift Run is a slightly above average mystery.
A copy of this book was sent to me for review.