MYSTERY

The Bird Boys

Cinco Puntos. (Delpha Wade & Tom Phelan, Bk. 2). Jul. 2019. 306p. ISBN 9781947627130. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781947627147. M
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Sandlin’s second Delpha Wade and Tom Phelan mystery (after The Do-Right) features private investigator Tom and his ex-convict secretary Delpha. After a brief reminder of Delpha’s conviction for murder, and how it still haunts her, a new client hires Tom to find his long-lost brother to mend wounds of the past before it’s too late. Tom and Delpha know immediately that their new client, using an alias and disguise, is not completely forthcoming about why he wants to find his brother. Set in 1970s Beaumont, TX, the story unfolds as the investigators rely on traditional methods—phone books, libraries, public records, ruses, and hunches—to solve the case. But the truth may come too late as they weigh their ethical obligation to their client with the impact reuniting the brothers may have. During the process, as Delpha demonstrates her talents and Tom begins to acknowledge her as an investigative partner, they both sense there is more to their relationship.
VERDICT Reminiscent of classic mysteries by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, with more character development and a strong, capable female lead, this will appeal to fans of Lou Berney, Walter Mosley, and Kent Anderson.

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