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Secondhand Smoke (Jake Brand, PI) Paperback – October 15, 2015
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
". . . endlessly entertaining in any situation, especially the perilous kind." -Kirkus Reviews ". . . Jake Brand is an easy hero to root for in this intriguing and entertaining thriller." -Clarion
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Sarah, Jake’s partner and roommate, serves as the bookkeeper and manager of the small firm they operate together.
After handling a couple of difficult cases, Jake decides to take a case for a young, attractive woman whose boyfriend had disappeared. The investigation quickly spirals out of control as Jake and his contacts determine that the case involves much more than a missing boyfriend. Jake and his team find themselves on the run from an enemy none of them saw coming—an enemy more dangerous than the local drug-running Southside gang.
“Secondhand Smoke” is a sequel to M. Louis’s “Angels’ Devil,” but doesn’t necessarily read like a sequel. You will not be confused if you pick this up without reading the first book.
Louis’s writing is crisp and moves along quickly without lengthy exposition or backstory. He uses little abstract description, but manages to portray Brand’s personality in detail. This is especially evident in the humorous interplay between Jake’s little angel and his little devil. At first, this struck me as silly, something like those cartoons where the protagonist has an angel version of himself on one shoulder and a devil version on the other. This suits the story well, however, and partially explains the title of the first book in the Jake Brand series.
This novel takes some unexpected turns. It is a modern thriller that moves readers through a series of well-timed events, all the while keeping the point-of-view laser-focused on Jake’s actions rather than his feelings. This works well for the character and serves to make his decisions palpable and believable.
I can’t find much to criticize with this book. Both prose and dialogue are sharp, but at times too sharp. Not much time is afforded to readers to experience what Jake does internally. One or two spelling and formatting errors were noticeable, but did not distract.
“Secondhand Smoke” is an intelligent thriller that can keep audiences entertained. The pages turn with ease. I remained at the edge of my seat throughout the book. This is as enjoyable a read as any other in the thriller genre from an author with an impressive talent.
Secondhand Smoke tells the story of a private investigator Jake Brand and a new case that he is introduced to. It feels like it's going to be a quick open-shut case, but after he does some digging it ends up being way more than he expected. He opened pandora's box, so to say. And now numerous different groups are trying to tie him to different things and figure out why he's hanging around in all the wrong places.
At the beginning of Secondhand Smoke, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. I knew what the synopsis said and I understood the story -- but I didn't read the first book in the series so I wasn't familiar with Jake Brand, PI or any of his quirks (his angel and devil for example). But, it didn't take long for me to figure out who he was and what made him tick. M. Louis did a great job making new readers feel at ease with Brand.
The story itself started off a little unsure of itself, I think this was done on purpose. Secondhand Smoke gave some back story and then showed the case that Brand was going to be working on. But once he had the case -- things started to fall into place very quickly (for the story, but definitely not for Brand). Every character introduced after that made the story feel real and interesting.
Louis did a great job writing a witty and funny noir-like private detective without making him feel old school or unimportant. The few jokes they made at him involved technology, but I liked the way that Brand attacked the situations (both old and new).
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I ended up listening to it almost all day today (Sunday) so that I could finish it. I couldn't put it down. As soon as I finished it, I looked at the first Brand book and it's now on my wishlist.
The narration for this really made it enjoyable. McCarthy does a perfect job voicing Brand, making him sound competent and a little half-witted. The dramatic and the funny scenes weren't difficult for McCarthy. He breezes the reader through this great book with ease.
Most recent customer reviews
M. Louis keeps Jake Brand moving. Both Jake
and the reader learn new things about Jake right
to the end. Can't wait for the next!