Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta

Tonight I Said Goodbye by Michael Koryta

Investigator and former Marine Wayne Weston is found at home, killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, the gun still lying in his right hand. There is no sign of his wife and six-year-old daughter.

The police believe Wayne Weston killed his family before turning the gun on himself. Weston’s father is convinced his son was murdered. He turns to Lincoln Perry, former cop, now private investigator, for help.

All the evidence supports the police’s conclusions, but as soon as he starts asking questions, Lincoln hears rumours of gambling, extortion, and links to Cleveland’s Russian mob. When the FBI asks him to back off, followed by a second murder, Lincoln is more determined than ever to uncover the truth, even if that means putting himself in danger . . .

I make absolutely no apologies for this but I’ve been a fan of Michael Koryta from the very first moment I picked up So Cold The River – towards the end of 2010 – and I honestly don’t think he is capable of writing anything substandard! In my chronology The Cypress House (Review) and The Ridge (Review) followed but without hesitation So Cold The River (Review) remains my favourite of his three supernatural stand alones to this date. I say my chronology because the three books I’ve mentioned actually follow a private investigator/detective series Michael wrote many years ago when he was learning his craft as a youngster and after reading Tonight I Said Goodbye it’s hard to believe he was capable of writing this well at just 20.

In the first of his PI series that features the enigmatic Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard Tonight I Said Goodbye is certainly a departure from his other titles. Light, entertaining, humorous and youthful the book moves along at a fair pace from the very first chapter. The dialogue is crisp and the one liners liberally spread throughout the novel add a light hearted atmosphere to the entire novel. The humour – the majority emanating from Perry – certainly gave the characters depth, colour and personality.

The narrative is sharp, believable and heavily dialogue driven. It works. The style is effortless and a real page turner until the very final page. There are a couple of twists and turns along the way and the final chapter includes the obligatory big twist you come to expect from a well-crafted story.

Characterisation, key to any story, is faultless and I absolutely adored Lincoln Perry, I couldn’t get enough of him and as the narrator of this first novel he more or less carries the novel even though his friend and partner Pritchard more than holds his own throughout. The pair work well together and they have this sixth sense that only comes with years of friendship and a solid working relationship. Both very different, Pritchard, very much Perry’s senior has the fortuitous trait to function with very little sleep which infuriates the hell out of his junior partner.

Although it’s clear who the main protagonists are the one shining light – and unexpected – in the book is Julie’s young daughter Betsy. Inquisitive, intelligent and incredibly adorable she’s so much fun. You just want to pick her up and give her a big bear hug. Koryta certainly gets into the mind of the six year old allowing the young girl to shine and hold her own.

This is without question a tremendous debut but the thing I loved more than anything was the difference in styles between this novel and the ones I mentioned earlier in this piece, novels written with a more sinister and darker edge. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rose coloured book, there’s more than enough violence in this novel to satisfy but he does it sparingly and is never forced. Natural.

I can’t wait for the next Michael Koryta book in the Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard series. This guy has a serious knack of turning everything he touches into gold. Midas no – talented author – yes!

320 pages – Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (24 May 2012) Available in Paperback & Kindle.

Language: English — ISBN-10: 1444713930 — ISBN-13: 978-1444713930

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