Brittle Karma


Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
267 Pages
Reviewed on 11/15/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Peggy Jo Wipf

From the beginning, Brittle Karma by Richard Helms pulls you into its web of suspense as Private Investigator Eamon Gold takes on a missing person’s cold case. Gold is more interested in finding the twenty million dollars that disappeared with Eddie Rice and Lydia Carlisle so he can collect the finder’s fee from the insurance company. He doubts he will ever see Eddie and Lydia, assuming they have left the country or have died. Hints that Eddie is still alive keep popping up, while mobsters, Lydia’s father and Jack Pike, push Gold even harder to continue looking. Thefts, murder, and deceit are around every corner for Gold, knowing when to withhold information and when to share is the only way this private investigator will make it out alive. Will finding Eddie and Lydia be worth the price he has to pay to stay alive?

Richard Helms has found his niche in detective mysteries. Brittle Karma starts out simply enough as Eamon Gold first turns down a case only to pick it up for a different reason. Gold quickly finds out this is more than a straightforward missing person’s case; that’s when the action picks up. With edgy precision, Helms uses elements of a great mystery: action that runs smoothly from scene to scene, characters that rule the pages, and twists incorporated throughout the hunt. Gold’s humor lightens the tension between characters as he makes light of the embarrassing injury he acquired. Overall, it drew me to the meticulous thinking process of Gold and the author’s ability to peel back slowly the layers of deceit that had been laid. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy a challenging, hard-boiled mystery.

Foluso Falaye

Only two of the robbers involved in an unsuccessful robbery are still alive thirty years after the event: Abner Carlisle is in a federal prison in Wyoming and Eddie Rice is in the wind with the stolen thirteen million dollars and Carlisle's daughter. Enter Eamon Gold, a private detective and bounty hunter who refuses Carlisle's request to search for his daughter and Rice because he knows it might lead to murder. And it does! But to Gold's surprise, Carlisle gets murdered instead of Rice as the former is found dead after being shot several times in the head. This, along with money promised to him by the insurance company, spikes his interest in the case. Is Gold the right man for the job? Join Eamon Gold as he searches for the missing man and stolen gold in Brittle Karma by Richard Helms.

Like a scoop of ice-cream on a hot day, Brittle Karma goes down easily to give readers a refreshing and satisfying experience. Richard Helms displays industriousness and skill in maintaining a captivating plot throughout the book. There were moments of surprise and awe as the book involves shocking revelations and a neat and well-planned narrative that had me focused until the end. Interestingly, I learned some things about borderline personality disorder as psychology and the negative effects of sexual abuse are explored and embedded in the mystery's narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, which was apparent by the great mood I was in when I finished reading it. Brittle Karma is perfect for readers who love a page-turning, suspenseful detective tale with shots, misses, and of course, hits.