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J.R. Sanders
Bring the Night
J.R. Sanders, author
When an oddball sister and brother hire him to find out if their father's suicide was suicide, private investigator Nate Ross figures he's in for an easy job. That is, until he discovers that the evidence doesn't add up and the cops - who are strangely cooperative - have rubber-stamped the case and filed it away. Soon Nate's dealing with crooks on the lam, dodging local bigwigs and shady lawyers, and chasing a clear-cut case of murder. Meanwhile, he wrestles with a conflict of interest as he's forced to investigate his own client. The more threads he pulls, the more things threaten to unravel completely. But with the help of old sidekicks, and a couple of new ones, Nate may get to the truth first. If he doesn't die trying.
Sanders’s sizzling third case for Nate Ross (after Dead-Bang Fall) sees the L.A. gumshoe investigating an apparent suicide on behalf of the victim’s two children. In the summer of 1939, travel agent Cecil J. Whitcanack is found dead behind the wheel of a Buick in a garage with the engine running. At first glance, his death appears to be in keeping with a documented uptick in suicides across L.A., but Cecil’s children, Alan and Alanna, insist their father would never have harmed himself. That Cecil’s lucrative life insurance policy would be voided if his death were ruled a suicide is mere coincidence, the siblings insist. Alan and Alanna hire Ross to look into the case, and he quickly finds—to his surprise—that they may be onto something: the steering wheel of the Buick had no fingerprints on it, suggesting someone may have tampered with the scene. But if the evidence is inconclusive, why do the cops seem so eager to close the case? Sanders keeps his foot on the gas as Ross unravels a citywide conspiracy related to Cecil’s death, with plenty of double-crossing and noirish turns of phrase along the way (when he first meets them, the Whitcanack siblings give Ross “a sensation like ants were doing a conga line up my backbone”). Ace Atkins fans should give this series a look. (Apr.)