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Reviewed by Paul F. Johnson for Readers' Favorite
Beholden by Gabriel FW Koch is a mystery featuring Marlowe Black, a WWII combat veteran and now a New York City private detective. Black is a simple, hard nosed PI with .45 automatic and a determination to solve his cases, no matter what and where they take him. Over a Fourth of July long weekend, Black returns to his office to find a stranger, very much dead, sitting in his office chair. Black knows he has to find out who the dead man is and, more importantly, why he was left there. Was he a gift, or a warning? As Black begins to unravel the case, things go from strange to complicated with government agents, missing Russian gold coins, and Nazi SS killers and, of course, some gorgeous dames. When more and more complications arise, including several deaths, Black is even more determined than ever to find answers, that is, if he lives long enough to get it done.
I’ve always been a big fan of hard core private detectives. With Beholden, the action starts on the very first page and doesn’t let up until the end. Mr Koch has created a strong lead character with a no nonsense attitude and a willingness to do what is necessary. The supporting characters in the story were well done and believable. The story line was good, keeping the reader wanting to know what was going to happen next. After reading the first few chapters, I was reminded of one of my earliest and favorite hard core private detectives, Shell Scott, a Korea veteran in the series of books by Richard S. Prather. If good, simple, hard core private detective stories are for you, you can’t go wrong with Beholden by Gabriel FW Koch.