Monday, February 9, 2015

When Lies Crumble (A Carter Mays Mystery #1)

Author:  Alan Cupp
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

Chicago PI Carter Mays is thrust into a house of lies when local rich girl Cindy Bedford hires him.  Turns out her fiancĂ© failed to show up on their wedding day, the same day millions of dollars are stolen from her father's company. While Carter takes the case, Cindy's father tries to find him his own way. 

With nasty secrets, hidden finances, and a trail of revenge, it's soon apparent no one is who they say they are. Carter searches for the truth, but the situation grows more volatile as panic collides with vulnerability. Broken relationships and blurred loyalties turn deadly, fueled by past offenses and present vendettas in a quest to reveal the truth behind the lies before no one, including Carter, gets out alive.


Tyler Moore doesn't show up at the church for his marriage to Cindy Bedford.  Naturally, Cindy's father, Jasper, is upset.  When Jasper sends a couple of his employees to Tyler's apartment to see why he isn't answering his cellphone, they discover that the entire apartment is empty, except for the furniture and the cell.  When Jasper returns home, leaving his distraught daughter in the care of her mother, Darlene, Jasper discovers something else:  his safe has been broken into, its contents gone, save the one item that can identify Tyler:  his prenuptial agreement.  Enraged, Jasper soon discovers other things that potentially destroy his life, and vows he will do whatever it takes to find Tyler.

The next morning, Cindy goes to Carter Mays office and hires him to find her fiancĂ©.  She doesn't believe Tyler would just walk out on her, and believes he may have been coerced to do it, even kidnapped.  Convincing Carter to take the case was fairly easy, but it seems someone doesn't want him on it - Cindy's father Jasper.  

So now we have the beginning of a nasty set of circumstances.  I can't tell you any more about the book than I already have without giving away spoilers.  But let me tell you that it is like a pie that hasn't yet been put together and baked:  you have all the ingredients at hand, ready to be mixed.  Everything looks good, right up until you pour it into the pan and place in the oven.  Then something happens - you either forget about it or turn the heat up too high.  Regardless, what you wind up with is a foul mess you wish you would either have not started or paid more attention to.  And there's nothing you can do to change one thing, to go back and start over.

And this is what happens to Carter.  He gets himself in so deep that even though you sense he wishes he would have done things differently, he never says so, and he knows he couldn't, even if he wanted to.  Once you're in, you're in deep.  And nothing is exactly what it seems.  Not Tyler.  Not Jasper.  Not even Carter.  Not the people around them.

All I can say is that this book is riveting.  Carter is the kind of protagonist I like to see:  strong, smart, funny, brave (but not 'gung ho I'm invincible' brave.)  He's good at what he does and smart enough to figure things out along the way.  And he gives a sort of strength to Cindy, just by having her around him.  This is the kind of book that everyone should read at least once, especially when you get tired of armchair detectives accidentally figuring things out as stumble along (which isn't to say I don't like those books, I actually do; but every once in a while it's nice to read someone who knows what they're doing all along.)

In the end, Mr. Cupp has given us a new kind of hero in Carter Mays.  One I hope will be around for a very long time.  Highly recommended.

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A Souffle of Suspicion (A French Bistro Mystery #2)

Author:  Daryl Wood Gerber Genre:  Mystery Hardcover; Digital Book ISBN #:  9781683315865 Crooked Lane Books 325 Pages $25.25; $9.99 ...