Skip to main content

Gumshoe Gone


Gumshoe Gone

What’s in a name? The Latin word mort means death, as in mortal or mortuary. Nevada PI trainee Mortimer Angel finds people of this category, those who are not immortal. “More accurately, they find me. I have been saddled with a misguided reputation for finding missing persons.”

In the three years since Mort discovered he had a soul and left the IRS gestapo to become a private eye, he’s found the bodies or parts thereof totaling “one mayor, decapitated, one district attorney, a presidential hopeful, a foul-mouth gangsta rapper, the head goon of Northern Nevada’s [IRS], and Nevada’s attorney general,” the mother of Harper Leeman, introduced in GUMSHOE IN THE DARK. PI boss Maude “Ma” Clary opines, “It’s like you’re a disaster magnet.” Ma is mortified.

"This bawdily entertaining mystery-with-a-message series began with GUMSHOE, making Mortimer Angel my go-to gumshoe..."

A faux Reno kidnapping is the whimsical brainchild of two young babes engaged to get Mort to Wyoming, where he is to meet Detective Metcalf, whose brother Kurt Metcalf has gone missing. The small-town detective knew the famed Nevada PI has a knack for finding people, only not the kind he finds. Mort assumes the “abduction” is somewhat like a Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney 1940s Let’s Put on a Show skit, so he goes along for the ride --- after grabbing a duffel bag with enough firepower to take out a military junta. Scout motto: Be prepared.

The arsenal isn’t necessary. At age 39, Detective Metcalf is a likable loner and former bully bulls-eye, due to unusual physical proportions: “The past never entirely pulls out its claws.” Don’t poke fun at a cop with a gun. Metcalf can’t cross jurisdictional lines and needs a PI trained to search for the missing brother.

Mort finds Kurt’s wallet at a mountain hunting shack, the cash gone but not credit cards or ID. Someone seeking something small enough to fit inside a wallet? Throughout, readers should notice small details and dubious coincidences. Unlike Agatha Christie, where each red-herring character has cause to commit crime, Rob Leininger’s well-crafted novels focus on probable perpetrators. Um…excluding beautiful babes, but Mort has a pig gene. Enough said.

Wife Lucy is on an extended South Pacific cruise with her mom. Cell phones are “electronic leashes, and one of the reasons why our country is spiraling into an abyss.” But try to reach someone mid-ocean with an e-leash. Lucy “was connected to me in some mystic way.” She senses that Mort is in danger and speaks with him, while at port. Not satisfied with his assurance to the contrary, she contacts “cosmic sister” Harper to check on the Great Gumshoe. “Lucy didn’t have one jealous atom in her body.”

Mort and Harper track down the whodunits, and karmic justice is exacted. Gruesome crime scenes and the Keystone Kop-ish FBI investigation of Mort’s past investigative tactics put this novel deep into thriller territory. Jaw-dropping subplots may rattle readers, but like noticing small details, tragic events lead to future novels.

This bawdily entertaining mystery-with-a-message series began with GUMSHOE, making Mortimer Angel my go-to gumshoe, and each installment one of my reviewer Top Picks of the year.

GUMSHOE GONE is USA Today bestselling author Rob Leininger’s sixth book in the Mortimer Angel series, in addition to KILLING SUKI FLOOD, which is under film option, and other intriguing novels. He chose independent publishing to immediately bring to readers his books in hardcover, digital (no charge for Kindle Unlimited members) and paperback, at lower prices than traditional publishers. He shares life with his wife, Patricia, in Montana.

» Click here to read our exclusive interview with Rob Leininger.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on September 11, 2021

Gumshoe Gone
by Rob Leininger

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published
  • ISBN-10: B09BF9GKHF
  • ISBN-13: 9798545609048