Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Review: "The Devil May Care" by David Housewright


The Devil May Care
by David Housewright
Minotaur Books, 2014



David Housewright’s eleventh Rushmore McKenzie mystery, The Devil May Care, is a thinking man’s thriller with a bit of humor—in the form of McKenzie’s first-person commentary and snappy rapport with everyone in the story—and a complex, but nicely compact plot. McKenzie resigned from the St. Paul, Minnesota, police department to collect a multi-million-dollar reward in a fraud investigation and now he does whatever he wants, including doing favors for friends as an unlicensed P.I.
     When McKenzie is approached by twenty-something Riley Brodin, the granddaughter of one of Minnesota’s wealthiest men, Walter Muehlenhaus, wanting his help to find her missing fiancé, Juan Carlos Navarre, McKenzie’s instinct is to walk away. He and Muehlenhaus butted heads during another investigation, and the aggravation of working for the family isn’t appealing to McKenzie. But Riley shows real concern for Navarre and ultimately charms McKenzie by sharing her grandfather
’s nickname for him: “f**king McKenzie”; but truthfully, the moniker losses its luster the more McKenzie hears it. The missing persons case gets on his nerves, too, since Navarre doesn’t seem to exist. And when a defunct street gang begins following McKenzie around and people start dying violently, all he can do is follow the clues where they take him. And hope no one he likes gets hurt.
     Publishers Weekly called The Devil May Care “exceptional” and gave it a starred review. A sentiment I share because everything in this detective thriller works. The characters have enough realism to make them relatable. The plot, which is wonderfully twisty and surprising, has an easy-going attitude and every inch of it gets McKenzie in deeper trouble. St. Paul and environs is drawn to perfection, from the people to the landscape (including all those fabulous lakes). But it is McKenzie that makes everything sizzle with his ironic first-person commentary, his low-wattage Knight-errant syndrome, and his ability to mix and mash with anyone from poverty row to country clubs. The Devil May Care is my first experience with Housewright’s writing, but there will be many more since finishing that last page made me a little sad.

Click here for the Kindle edition and here for the paperback at Amazon.

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