M2D4 Toe Tag: Duplicity

Duplicity by Shawn Wilson is a mystery, the kind I call a “follow along.” Brick Kavanagh is officially retired from the Washington DC police Homicide Squad. Unofficially, he’s got a few irons in the fire. The most promising is an airline stewardess named Nora that just might be worth relocating to Chicago. A potential paying gig, Brick is invited to mentor law students through a cold case in their own back yard. Then there is the thing that happens to his partner’s wife. For that, everything else can wait.

Bottom line: Duplicity is for you if you like appealing characters getting in the weeds of missing persons and cold case mysteries.

Listen to the first chapter here or wherever you get Mysteries to Die For podcast.

Strengths of the story. Brian “Brick” Kavanaugh is a strong leading character who you want to succeed. The secondary characters are equally engaging and, always a winner with me, I could keep them straight. The “missing person” and “cold case” storylines hold up front-to-back and then back-to-front. The rapid storytelling style is engaging and keeps you wanting to know what happens next.

Where the story fell short of ideal. While there were no plot holes, the main storyline pivoted to resolution on a coincidence, not Brick’s actions or deductions. Being a mystery fanatic, I look for the detectives to drive to the solution. In this case, he was more in the right place at the right time, which falls short of ideal. Notably, Brick does drive the solution of the secondary storyline. If it wasn’t for him sticking with what should have been a dead-end lead and pressing buttons marked “do not touch” then the status quo would have been sadly maintained.

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