“First-person white guy private investigator with a rocky past” is not exactly an original genre, but this one’s a very good entry into the pack. Wyatt Rivers is living a fairly great life in Las Vegas, doing work for casinos and enjoying drinks on the patio with his girlfriend. He takes on a case for a friend whose niece inherited a bar/live music venue and is getting harassed. Unfortunately, the bar is in Oklahoma City, Wyatt’s hometown and the site of some awful stuff from his past that he’s been trying to block out.
Also in Oklahoma City, Julianna has grown up in the shadow of the disappearance of her older sister when they were teenagers. She goes through life distracted and disconnected, poring through old photos and memories, looking for any clues about where her beloved big sister went.
The new mystery and the old mystery don’t have much to do with each other, but both stories are told well, with interesting characters and believable red herrings. I was worried that I was only going to get a solution to one of them and the other would be forever unsolved, but Burney makes the journey worth your while.
“Unspectacular but solid” doesn’t sound like high praise, but it’s just what I needed after a string of slightly-disappointing books lately.