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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
To Bring My Shadow by Matt Phillips introduces readers to a detective who is tormented by personal issues that include alcoholism and a wife who committed suicide. Yet in the call of duty, you can always rely on him to be there and get the job done. Like most detective noir novels, hardboiled investigator Frank Pinson tells his story in the first person, recounting how he and his partner, Slade Ryerson, take on the case of the gruesome murder of a man named Enrico Frederico Pablo Castaneda. Their probe reveals that the murder victim is connected to a drug cartel, and Turner Malcolm, the young man who found Castaneda’s body, is the stepson of a property developer who deals with the cartels and launders money. Their investigation will take them to Santa Muerte, where Pinson’s faith will be challenged.
There is an aura of romanticism in the way Pinson narrates the case. His curt sentences capture the mood and sentiment of his situations, and his attempt at fixing his toilet makes for a brilliant allegory of his efforts at bringing himself back to reality and moving on after trauma. To Bring My Shadow has an easy-to-access plot, but it is also challenging enough to surprise readers. As developments in the case turn up to make Pinson and Ryerson revise and update what they know, the end of the story brings us back around to Pinson still trying to deal with installing his new American Standard toilet, and so the circle of life goes on. Matt Phillips is a master storyteller in this genre, a creator of a well-fleshed-out protagonist that you can empathize with despite his flaws as a human being. This is a brilliant work of crime fiction that is highly recommended for its taut pacing, solid characters, and gripping plot.