Why would a guy with advanced degrees in computer science, and who had been a hacker in Hong Kong, want to be a private investigator after he got out of Chinese prison and came home? And how good would he be in his chosen profession? Such is the premise of The Reluctant Detective? And why would a guy in his late 20s or early 30s be dependent on his wealthy parents to subsidize his first case with a gift of $50,000 if he succeeded?
Coningsby Trent (CT) Ferguson is smart, but rather unmotivated as The Reluctant Detective by Tom Fowler begins its steady roll towards a denouement. But beginnings can be deceiving. CT exercises his smarts throughout the novel, even surprising his cousin, Rich Ferguson, a member of the Baltimore Police Department, with his deductions.
CT’s first case supposedly involves adultery. Alice Fisher believes her husband, Paul, is playing around. But CT soon realizes that Alice has a problem, not her husband. And it’s gambling, not adultery. Nonetheless, he sticks with the case.
Gangsters, both small time and overlords, as well as their “goons” threaten CT with harm if he steps on their toes or hurts their business. The goons are the ones who get hurt when they think CT is an easy target.
Good characterization, especially of CT. I’ll read the rest of the CT Ferguson series, including the novella prequel, Hong Kong Dangerous.
Stay tuned for a review of Tom Fowler’s second series featuring John Tyler.
The Reluctant Detective
by Tom Fowler
Widening Gyre Media, LLC