Running for his life wasn't exactly what Portland PI, Jake Brand, had in mind when he accepted his latest client - but that's exactly what he and Sarah, his best friend and assistant, find themselves doing in this heart-pounding sequel to Angel's Devil.
Deception, fueled by money, begins when a beautiful woman throws down serious cash for Jake to find her missing boyfriend. Violence follows when Jake and Sarah discover the couple is connected to a hacker who colors outside the lines, a beautiful pharmaceutical sales rep, a slimy cop who can't take a punch, and a federal agent bent on hiding the truth. They all know too much - and soon enough, so do Jake and Sarah.
In the midst of the danger, Jake finds time to annoy his yoga instructor, and fall for the woman with more secrets than answers.
Jake Brand, PI finds himself in yet another mess. His new client is attractive and aggressive – she wants her boyfriend found but she keeps hitting on Jake. Mix in a hacker who does things unconventionally, a gorgeous Agent, a dirty cop and some hoodlums and you have a deadly combination for Jake and his colleagues/friends.
Mixed with lots of action and danger, Jake falls for a beautiful woman who … well, she shakes him up in more ways than one by the end of the book! While this is book 2 in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. This book has the back story to Jake, his friends and those he loves which makes a more thorough connection for the reader.
Louis does an excellent job of laying out the plot and then seeing each thread of it through tying everything up nicely. His writing style is brisk yet smooth, character development is full and not overly complex – some authors make the mistake of being too involved, Louis does just the right amount of character development enabling the reader to become entrenched in not only the story but invested in the characters.
We all have a little “devil” and little “angel” sitting on our shoulders but Jake’s is more outspoken than most. I enjoy the inner dialog his conscience has with himself – it’s fun and lighthearted but so packed full of wisdom – such as never tell a woman her morning face is worse than yours – no, you tell her she is magnificent every single second of the day! Fun yet full of twists and turns.
Colin Iago McCarthy does an excellent performance. His voice is Jake Brand down to the husky throaty voice. It is always exciting to hear an audiobook where the narrator becomes the character – they own it – McCarthy owns Jake Brand, PI! There is no doubt that he is Jake. His performance was flawless – no stumbling or missing words – everything was fluid and correct. I enjoy McCarthy’s reading.
There were no issues with the audio production of this book.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
4.75 out of 5 stars
Secondhand Smoke tells the story of a private investigator Jake Brand and a new case that he is introduced to. It feels like it's going to be a quick open-shut case, but after he does some digging it ends up being way more than he expected. He opened pandora's box, so to say. And now numerous different groups are trying to tie him to different things and figure out why he's hanging around in all the wrong places.
At the beginning of Secondhand Smoke, I wasn't sure what I was getting into. I knew what the synopsis said and I understood the story -- but I didn't read the first book in the series so I wasn't familiar with Jake Brand, PI or any of his quirks (his angel and devil for example). But, it didn't take long for me to figure out who he was and what made him tick. M. Louis did a great job making new readers feel at ease with Brand.
The story itself started off a little unsure of itself, I think this was done on purpose. Secondhand Smoke gave some back story and then showed the case that Brand was going to be working on. But once he had the case -- things started to fall into place very quickly (for the story, but definitely not for Brand). Every character introduced after that made the story feel real and interesting.
Louis did a great job writing a witty and funny noir-like private detective without making him feel old school or unimportant. The few jokes they made at him involved technology, but I liked the way that Brand attacked the situations (both old and new).
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I ended up listening to it almost all day today (Sunday) so that I could finish it. I couldn't put it down. As soon as I finished it, I looked at the first Brand book and it's now on my wishlist.
The narration for this really made it enjoyable. McCarthy does a perfect job voicing Brand, making him sound competent and a little half-witted. The dramatic and the funny scenes weren't difficult for McCarthy. He breezes the reader through this great book with ease.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Summary: Take a PI in Portland, mix in a few bad guys, throw in some danger and gratuitous sex and you get this story.
- I think the narrator's voice fit the character well, though his voice just made me want to give the man a cough drop.
- The plot's all right, though there were several points that were painfully cliche.
- The little devil and angel thing was a stroke of genius, but it did get old after a while. That's a super hard balance to hit. (Some people are going to think it wasn't in there enough and others are going to be opposite end of the spectrum and wish it wasn't there at all.)
- The main action happened 2 hrs from the end of the story, which is one heck of a long wrapup. Then the "end" was designed to be one of those "or is it?" sort of ends, which I'm not a fan of. (personal preference, it's a valid writing technique.)
- Strong pts - side characters had some life to them.
- Weak pts - those cliches, like every woman throwing herself at the guy.
- Side pt - none/ very few of the actual law enforcement characters were likable. They all came across as cookie cutter abuse of power types, even those who were on the straight and narrow.
- Sort of wish Sarah did more central stuff to the plot. The main guy's always harping on how helpful she is, but then the main help gig went to a different character. (Sorry that's vague, spoilers and all)
- It may not qualify as a "clean read" but it's good/okay.
- There's a nice balance of serious and humorous.
Conclusion: Overall, it's an enjoyable story. The audio editing had some random clicks still but the performance by the narrator was very good. Since those clicks can be the devil to get out, I don't count that against 'em too much. Would I read another book by the author? Maybe someday.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Secondhand Smoke in three words, what would they be?
Exciting, unpredictable, nail biting
What did you like best about this story?
When a book leaves me wanting more, I know I've hit a winner!
Which scene was your favorite?
Any additional comments?
I really loved the reader - his voice was perfect for this character! Also, I picked this up not realizing it was a second book in a series. I'm definitely going to download book 1 now!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I listened to Secondhand Smoke before listening to Angel's Devil which is the first novel in the series. This is an action packed novel about a case of PI Jake Brand. It is set mostly in Oregon, but much of the setting is in Mexico. My one complaint with the novel is that it focuses excessively on Jake's love life, specifically about his poor judgement with women. Narration is excellent.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful
This book is a great combination of an action story and a modern noir sensibility. The story is fast paced and definitely keeps you guessing what will happen next. Not only is it an adventure tale, the character development is interesting and has a strong noir influence.
Set in Portland, Oregon, there are great references and details that really bring the city into the story.
I love the strong female characters--no one needs to save them!
The narrator's approach lends to the noir feel and really brings the story to life.