Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Notes — Trace Conger And Mr. Finn, Number 3

Not a lot of moss can grow on Trace Conger’s keyboard. His third Mr. Finn book is out.  I’ve commented here before on the first two – The Shadow Broker and Scar Tissue. I have a feeling we’ll be dealing with Mr. Finn’s fourth sooner rather than later.  The Prison Guard’s Son, just out, continues the adventures of the shadowy former private eye, whose lack of license seems to give him license to do what he deems necessary — legal or not and with moral judgment that is, at best, dicey.
Trace Conger

One of the interesting qualities that comes out of the notion of a series is not only getting to know the main character, a worthwhile endeavor in this case, but also those regular characters that surround him or her. I’m especially fond of Finn’s father, and his ex-love, who may or my not be so ex.  

This tale, full of clever twists, introduces us to a man who suffered the loss of a son in a brutal murder many years ago.  The two nine-year-old boys who were convicted of the crime served their sentences and were released into a federal protection program ostensibly because of how young they were when they committed the crime. The father of the victim has not forgotten nor forgiven, and he hires Finn to find the two so carefully hidden so many years ago.
Questions arise, of course.  How does one find people professionally hidden, given completely new and officially sanctioned identities?  Where does one begin?  More important, what happens if they are found? As it was with his previous books, Conger seems to approach his stories from unexpected angles and forces his readers to contend with the complex moral dilemmas that arise when law, justice and pure vigilantism intersect.

Trace Conger’s The Shadow Broker was awarded The Shamus by the Private Eye Writers of America for “Best First Novel.”

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