Boston Cream is Howard Shrier's third novel featuring PI Jonah Geller, but a first read of this Arthur Ellis award winning Canadian author for me. It definitely won't be the last.
Geller is just back to work, still feeling the effects of a severe concussion, earned on his last case. If Ron Fine wasn't a family friend, he would have turned him down. Ron hasn't heard from his son in almost two weeks and it's unlike David to not be in touch with his family or miss work - he's a highly skilled surgeon at a Boston hospital. Ron doesn't think the cops in Boston are looking very hard for David and wants his own man on the job. Geller reluctantly agrees, but takes along partner Jenn Raudsepp for help.
Geller and Raudsepp are good, very good. They quickly find clues and connections the cops have missed. But...the bad guys have their sights on Geller and Raudsepp as well. Jenn is kidnapped and Geller is forced to call in another favour from Canada...former hit man Dante Ryan....
I am so glad to have discovered Shrier. Geller is a richly different character - his sense of right and wrong is clearly defined and the path to justice very clear, although it may not always be on the right side of the law. I didn't get to know Jenn as well as I would have liked to in this book, but Geller and Ryan are fiercely loyal and protective of her. I'll have to go back and read the first two in this series Buffalo Jump and High Chicago to get the back story. I am intrigued by Dante Ryan - a hit man who wants to put that part of his life behind him, but won't let his friends down.
I loved the 'local' setting - reading of streets and places in Toronto and imagining Geller walking down them. Although Shrier takes Geller over the border in Boston Cream, the Canadian references are very fun and had me laughing to myself. When Geller takes out two Boston bad guys...
"What does McCudden say"
"He ain't talking yet. Still doped up. Took two pretty good shots."
"From a Canadian."
The plotting in Boston Cream is excellent, taking a very real crime (I don't want to giveaway the plot) and weaving a tight, taut story around it. The pacing is good, with the final chapters being a run for the money - an action packed, non stop finale.
"I am not a violent man. I keep telling myself that. I think of myself as a good man at heart, who keeps getting caught up in deeds committed by men who really are violent. So I tell myself, if it only happens when I go to the States, where the stakes seem high and guns abound, then there's a simple solution. Hide my passport and keep my peace-loving self at home. Because that is what non-violent men do."
Uh-huh - I'll be waiting to see what case Geller takes on next.....and where.....
Read the first chapter of Boston Cream. You can find Howard Shrier on Twitter and on Facebook.