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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Brittle Karma by Richard Helms, Abner Carlisle has just left a Wyoming prison after 30 years behind bars for the robbery of $20 million and he has business to attend to. Carlisle wants to find Eddie Rice, the getaway driver who he kept out of prison and trusted to guard the money. He calls upon San Francisco Private Investigator Eamon Gold to track down Rice who seems to have vanished with the money, taking Carlisle's daughter Lydia with him. Gold refuses the request, sensing Carlisle wants Rice murdered, but when Carlisle is found in a hotel room in an execution-style murder, Gold becomes curious about who is responsible. Gold's interest in finding Rice escalates further when he discovers that Great Pacific Liability Insurance will pay 10% of any funds recovered from the robbery. Gold starts his investigations, beginning with Lydia's family, friends, and associates, which leads him to uncover police corruption and disturbing facts about Carlisle's relationship with his daughter. As the truth unfolds, Gold is led down a very sinister and dangerous path as he realizes the case has links to organized crime. He discovers that nothing is as it seems and more surprising revelations convince Gold to make a deal with the devil in the form of a notorious mob boss.
Richard Helms is an absolute master storyteller. From the first chapter where Gold hunts down Riley Quinch, you get a real insight into Gold's fearless, intelligent and insightful personality. The dialogue was exceptional throughout, especially Gold's dry, witty sense of humor. The characters were created with a great level of care and consideration, making them totally believable. Their emotions, values, and morals were cleverly and subtly shown through their dialogue and behavior. There were so many layers to the characters, and as the investigation progressed, more facts about their backgrounds were revealed. I loved the tension and excitement throughout as the plot twisted and turned and became more and more compelling with every chapter. The plot also covers some very dark subjects of abuse, mental illness, and moral dilemmas but with the utmost sensitivity. Be prepared for the unexpected as you read Brittle Karma. The ending was incredible as the shocking truth is finally uncovered.