The last time Vance Courage set foot inside the Hotel Mutiny he was a young homicide detective. Back then cocaine distributed from NYC to LA had a 90-percent chance of being traced to the hotel's private club.
25 years later the Justice Department is negotiating a prisoner swap: Courage's fugitive kingpin uncle instead of the NJ cop-killer hiding in Cuba. Uncle Tony uses the newly-lifted travel ban to escape Havana, and a potential manhunt.
Courage is a lawyer now and his solo practice is on the skids. He's shocked when Tony appears on his doorstep. After refusing to take no for an answer, Courage lets him move in. Now, he's harboring a fugitive.
A woman cat-fishes Courage on a dating app and invites him to meet her at the Hotel Mutiny. Lauren Gold has her own agenda and it might not include romance. She too has ties to the old hotel.
When Courage was still a detective a beautiful waitress disappeared from the hotel, her body discovered floating in Jewfish Creek. The case has been haunting him for decades. But not as much as it’s been gnawing at retired police sergeant, Daniel Ruiz, who reemerges even more obsessed with the unsolved murder of the eponymous Mutiny girl.
As more characters from the past surface, a conspiracy to salvage a fortune in hidden drug money is revealed. Gold and Courage are trapped in a world of deceit where the hunters become the hunted.
Plot: “The Mutiny Girl” offers a complex and rich plot, both solving a decades-old murder and a current treasure hunt of illicit drug money, with an equal amount of well-drawn details that meld within the story rather than acting as their own parts. Though the story unfolds slowly, once it finds its momentum it doesn’t let up until the very end.
Prose/Style: Gordon clearly has a way with words, and these skills are on full display in action-packed and, at times, grotesque, descriptions. The heat, tension, and emotions are vividly captured, and the erotic and death-related scenes are very memorable.
Originality: Based on a true story from the author’s life at the real Hotel Mutiny, there will be some familiar aspects of the story to readers of drug/crime fiction set in Miami (drug runners, crooked cops, clandestine meetings, etc.). However, Gordon infuses the reality with a clever murder/mystery alongside a story of reckoning—both familial and monetary.
Character Development: All of the characters, from the primary ones (Vance, Lauren, Ray, and Tony) to the secondary cast (Jake, Daniel, and Davis) are well-fleshed out and given just the right amount of background story to engage readers without bogging down the plot. Especially well done was the figure of Ray Dinero, who served as El Cerebro, “the brains,” behind the drug operations.
Blurb: An outstanding debut thriller that has it all: misdirection, intrigue, murder, and family. Captivating and engrossing.
Date Submitted: April 17, 2019
"An engagingly written series starter with a bounty of plot twists and Miami vices." — Kirkus Reviews