I took a chance on the first novel in an unfamiliar detective series, Bad to the Bones, Book 1 of James Harper’s Evan Buckley series.
It held some interest, but didn’t work for me.
Private Eye Evan Buckley (I never really noticed where he lives) suffers a shock and vows to end his meat and potatoes work – investigating unfaithful spouses for divorce cases. His original motivation for becoming a PI was to find missing people, like his own wife who disappeared without explanation. A (surprisingly) friendly police detective refers him to a woman whose son and husband both disappeared some years earlier. She believes the police found an easy explanation and dropped the case without really solving it. Evan vows to discover the truth for her.
Which he does. But the journey to the explanation seemed weird to me. Character relationships struck me as unrealistic – people start by snarling at each other, then suddenly become bosom buddies. The police don’t operate like real police at all.
And the final “resolution” was so horrific that I couldn’t at all comprehend the sense of closure we’re supposed to believe both Buckley and his client feel at the end.
So I don’t really recommend Bad to the Bones. I saw potential in the author, so maybe the following books will be better.