Monday 22 August 2022

Book ~ "Midnight Clear" (1999) Mary Kay Andrews (Kathy Hogan Trocheck)

From Goodreads ~ It's a few days before Christmas and sometime sleuth/full-time cleaning lady Callahan Garrity has things under control for a change, until her ne'er-do-well brother, Brian, shows up. He's kidnapped his toddler daughter, Maura, from his estranged wife, a vengeful shrew with the law on her side.

When his ex-wife is found dead, the cops suspect Brian. To save her brother and her holiday, Callahan, along with her irascible mom, Edna, and a gaggle of House Mouse employees, will crisscross yuletide Atlanta, going everywhere the search for truth leads. 

Callahan used to be a police officer and changed careers when she bought House Mouse, a cleaning service that she runs with her mother, Edna ... but she still does private investigating on the side.

It's a couple days before Christmas and the House Mouse is having their holiday party ... when they are surprised by the the arrival of Brian, Callahan's younger brother, who hasn't been in touch with the family in about ten years.  Edna is ecstatic but Callahan is pissed, especially when he drops off his three-year-old daughter, Maura, who they didn't know existed.  Apparently Brian had married Shay, the local tramp, and when they split up, Brian didn't have any custody rights so he grabbed Maura and is hoping Edna will take care of her for a couple days as he gets himself settled.  Then Shay is found murdered and Brian, of course, is the main suspect and he's being less than cooperative.

The writing was okay, though the editing could have been better as there are typos.  It is written in first person perspective in Callahan's voice.  Because it was originally written in the late 1990s and is set in the late 1990s they are still using pay phones, answering machines, telephone books, etc. As a head's up, there is swearing and violence.

This is the seventh in the Callahan Garrity Mystery Series.  Though part of a series, it works as a stand alone as there is enough background provided. It hasn't been a great series but this has been the best book so far (only one more to go).  I liked that it was less about the House Mouse employees' flakey side stories and more focused on the main story.  I found Brian to be an unbelievable character ... he cared enough about the welfare of this daughter that he kidnapped her but then pretty much abandoned her with his family who he abandoned ten years earlier.  He was disrespectful of the help that was given to him.

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