The immortalists by Andrew Hook
Two days before Christmas, but it wasn’t like I had anyone to feed or any presents to buy. The only person I had in the world to care about was me. And I wasn’t the caring kind
Mordent is an ex-cop turned PI with a tarnished past and a bubblewrap fetish. He is hired to look for a missing kid, disappeared off a ferry three years past, so the police suspect a suicide. Mordent though asks all the questions the police can’t be bothered to, and is tenacious in pursuit of the truth. Hook has got the wisecracking dialogue spot on, with plenty of nods to the 50’s pulp that Mordent is such a fan of, and his police contacts and crime lords really have no time for. Needless to say not everything is as it seems and when the other case he’s working seems to overlap we are headed for an interesting showdown. For it seems that the kid’s body, when found, has aged after death and when a second aged body turns up it appears that rival gang lords are competing in a quest for immortality. When Mordent’s girlfriend goes missing the case turns personal. The book is inter-cut with flashback chapters from his life as a cop, which becomes relevant to the case of course.
The characters are well drawn, if a bit too much from a male perspective (women don’t come out well here) and there are definitely mean streets and wise language. However the denouement doesn’t quite give the payoff I wanted from the story, doesn’t mean it was bad, just that it disappointed me personally. I also didn’t like the main character, which doesn’t necessarily need to be a barrier to enjoying a book (but it helps) but in this case I wasn’t quite sure where his tenacity (before the girlfriend going missing) came from. OK he’s a flawed man trying to do some good, but he’s too flawed.
Overall – Interesting modern noir, doesn’t quite deliver on the premise