I read mysteries for much more than the who done what to whom...I read them to examine the human condition. Lily Gardner takes her flawed characters into situations that require them to stretch and grow. In living with them in her books you get to examine your own self and hold it up to a mirror of the human condition. I am anxious to continue this ride with Lennox in future books because now I'm hooked.
Okay, this is a little early to review since I just finished the first chapter over lunch. But I had read her first book (liked it) have met Lily at a workshop (liked her). Was sort of tapping my toe waiting for follow up book to arrive and yep, chapter 1 is off to an excellent start. YEA!
I loved her first book and this one was no exception. I could not put this book down. I'm hooked on Lennox and look forward to the next book. Great story, characters you believe in and fun to read about the city we love.
One thing I know for sure, Betting Blind author Lily Gardner is an authentic Portlander. Portland’s presence in Betting Blind is deep and authentic. The sense of place is powerful, the city sets the mood and it all rings true. The main character even says spendy instead of expensive or costly.
Lennox is a private investigator, dismissed from the Portland Police Bureau in disgrace and piecing her life back together. Some of her former colleagues are still her friends, aware that her firing while technically fair was plainly unjust. The gather for a weekly poker game where she cleans them out more often than not.
One of the gang, Fulin, a parole officer, does not show up for the game, it turns out he’s been arrested and hires her to help find a parolee whose put the squeeze on him. Things go bottoms up and soon Lennox is investigating more than a missing parolee, but extortion and murder as well.
Interestingly one of the clues leads to Second Life® which is the only part of this mystery where Gardner goes astray. It is not just that Gardner revisits the usual sexual deviance tropes that people outside of Second Life concentrate on, but she has skin reddening, people glowering and flipping their hair in irritation.
The mystery follows all the fair play rules, there’s no secret clues and unknown, unseen reports. Lennox is a smart investigator and does not chase stupid red herrings. There are red herrings, of course, but they aren’t stupid ones.
I enjoyed Betting Blind and if Lily Gardner continues to write more Lennox Cooper mysteries, I will gladly read them. As a Portlander, I was pleased with her excellent, true to the city setting. As a Second Life resident, I had to roll my eyes a bit. Damn you, C.S.I. New York, you have much to answer for. The novel is fast-paced and the writing is disciplined and efficient. The main character, Lennox is a smart woman, competent and independent. I hope to read many more of her cases in the future.
I received a digital galley from the publisher via NetGalley
My View: I loved the first book in this series A Bitch Called Hope (for the uninitiated the tiles of Lily’s books are referring to card playing terms) and this was even more enjoyable and exciting. In this book Lennox Cooper PI continues her Friday night poker playing ways. Lennox takes more than few risks and gets involved in a nasty and dangerous investigation – again I loved this fast paced narrative. I loved the protagonist; Lennox - the gusty, resourceful PI, and Fulin Chen her friend and client and the camaraderie of the Friday night poker players, so authentic.
This is a read in one sitting kind of book. The pages almost turn themselves over! I loved the complex storyline, the list of many suspects that is whittled away by hard work, investigation and a process of elimination; all scenarios that are explored as Lennox digs deeper to try and solve this case.
My only issue with this read…I read the last page and couldn’t believe there was no more! I was totally engaged in this narrative and now it looks like I have to wait a year for the next instalment. Not fair Ms Gardner. Type faster.
PS This can be read as a standalone but I strongly recommend reading A Bitch Called Hope first -if you love a gusty female protagonist in a fast paced book!