J.P. Pomare (Hachette Australia) 2021, 326pp, RRP $32.99 (paperback); $15.99 (e-Book); $34.99 (audiobook)

The New-Zealand-born but Melbourne-residing Pomare’s latest crime/character drama comes barely a year after his The Last Guests, and again proves twisty indeed, even though you can be fairly sure that you’re being played.

Former cop Vince Reid is now a private investigator, and he’s tasked by his insurance firm employers to travel to the small American town of Manson to look into a suspicious car accident. The trouble is, of course, that Reid has history in Manson, and he left there due to circumstances that become clearer as we go along.

The expected perspective shifts also allow us to learn of the pre-crash experiences of Eshana, wife of a now-late academic who might or might not have been involved in, you guessed it, some unsolved disappearances. In some ways, however, Eshana’s is the less compelling thread here: it’s Reid we care about, and he’s the kind of guy who pursues a seemingly doomed romance with a sweet if significantly younger waiter, even as a corrupt local police force start apparently coming after him.

Perhaps not quite as dark as The Last Guests, this suggests that, by way of a nice change, Pomare actually likes these characters, and wants Vince to come back for another endless series of mysteries, just like dreary old Jack Reacher.

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Hachette Australia website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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