Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Under Water (Duck Darley) by Casey Barrett

I don't know how this one has managed to elude me for two years, but I'm glad I found it now! It's probably my favorite read of the year. Part of it comes from the gritty story itself, a lot of it comes from the protagonist, pill-popping, Bulleit-swilling, ex-swimmer Duck Darley.
Darley could have been a contender, as an Olympic swimmer. However, like his dad he ended up in jail. After taking some aikido lessons he hires himself out as a self-proclaimed finder. He's more just an unlicensed PI though, specializing in catching married men cheating on their wives. He's not above accomodating the clients with some revenge sex as a bonus. He drinks too much, swipes pills wherever he can find them... Yeah, he's an anti-hero I guess. He really cares about his dog and sidekick, Cassie though. Now don't think she the Joe Pike / Hawk sort of psycho sidekick. Nope, she's a dominatrix and sometimes the real brains of the outfit.
In his first book he is hired to track down the missing sister of a former teammate. When her ex is murdered she's painted by the media as a killer. Digging deeper and deeper he uncovers several dark secrets and ends up in lethal danger.
The "fun" here is in how Darley managed to continue the investigation while drugged and drunk. How he manages to fight off thugs. How he stays in character as an asshole but also as an underdog to root for.
Writer Casey Barrett chose to write what he knows in part as he used to be an Olympic swimmer himself. That angle is however not needed at all. The book is written well, the mystery interesting and the characters lively and original. Top notch.

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