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Wrong Light: A Rick Cahill Novel


Wrong Light: A Rick Cahill Novel

Following 2017’s spectacular BLOOD TRUTH, incidents in the fifth Rick Cahill escapade rattle burgeoning San Diego radio personality, Naomi Hendrix. The Naomi at Night talk show host has the “kind of voice that inspires fantasies in lonely men trying to hold back reality.” The loneliest one sends cryptic and disturbing missives to Naomi’s station, which engages Rick to identify the stalker and protect the talent.

Naomi does not, however, want protection causing Rick to view “the truth through life’s kaleidoscope, shaded and ever changing.” She has her own defense, a Glock 19 stowed in her vintage 1969 Camaro. When the pistol vanishes, Rick learns the theft can’t be reported to police. “Something was off with the whole scenario.”

"WRONG LIGHT is the most rewarding and complex Cahill series installment, making it my numero uno Top Pick for 2018."

In a binary yet entwined plot, “Sergei Volkov. Head of the Russian Mafia in San Diego [and] Tatiana. The devil’s daughter,” offer a deal Rick can’t refuse: “If you don’t do as I say, you’ll die. Painfully. If you go to the police, you’ll die more painfully.” The deal? Espionage regarding Rick’s nemesis, de facto mob boss Peter Stone, putting the PI between a stone and a hard place. His dilemma is that Naomi faces death but if Tatiana kills Rick, who protects Naomi?

Rick is “really pushing this friendship thing” with compatriot PI Moira MacFarlane’s “TNT wrapped in a hundred-pound frame” persona. She says he “can be a real passive aggressive jerk.” Niceties aside, Moira lessens the probability of his painful death by tailing Stone, who “lived life straddling both sides of the law,” while Rick works the Naomi case. Reluctantly he becomes Tatiana’s lapdog and spins the Russian roulette wheel, fortunately not encountering the green zero. Yet, can he avoid the loaded chamber?

The road leading to the identity of Naomi’s stalker and Rick’s brush with Russian collusion has twists and turns that rival a California cloverleaf. WRONG LIGHT is the most rewarding and complex Cahill series installment, making it my numero uno Top Pick for 2018.

Macavity finalist and Anthony Award-winning Matt Coyle is Raymond Chandler reincarnate, and will be Left Coast Crime San Diego 2020 convention Toastmaster. In addition to the comprehensive list of accomplishments identified at this link, BLOOD TRUTH was nominated for Lefty and Shamus awards, and took home the Foreword Reviews Indie Book of the Year Silver Award.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on December 14, 2018

Wrong Light: A Rick Cahill Novel
by Matt Coyle