Faced with the possibility of having to turn in an embezzler and come away with nothing or leave the police department and collect a huge finders fee from the insurance company, St. Paul detective Rushmore MacKenzie chooses the latter. Now he works similar to Lawrence Block’s Scudder: he has no license but does things to help people. In this story he’s been hired to find the sister of a girl who needs a transplant. Jamie Carlson had left home at 18 (never satisfactorily explained) never to return, after graduating high school, and now they need to see if she’s a match for her younger sister, Stacy who needs a bone marrow transplant.
MacKenzie finds the sister quickly enough. She’s married, with a child, TC, to a used car salesman in St. Paul who is involved with a rather shadowy group of elite businessmen who all made their money selling at a discount. He tells her of the need to be tested for the transplant, and she agrees to go home but is viciously murdered before she can. Mac’s oldest friend is a homicide detective on the St. Paul police force and he’s working on a case that’s soon linked to Jamie’s death, not to mention the involvement of the ATF and FBI.
As with any first book in a series, there are some loose ends and the occasional requirement to suspend credulity (what Mac does with a concussion at the end of the book defies belief despite its explanation). Nevertheless, a good read.
I discovered Housewright after reading Penance, one of the Holland Taylor series. This new series, featuring Rushmore MacKenzie shows promise, and I’ve already started onTin City, second in the series.