Scott Parker's debut, WADING INTO WAR, manages to do a lot of things succinctly and well. Ben Wade is a new P.I. (a former police officer) who so far has handled the routine sort of cases P.I.s usually get.
But this story (more a novella than a novel) puts his prosaic cases behind him as a client (a femme fatale perhaps?) hires him to find a missing man. The man is a journalist who seems to have debarked from his boat coming back from Europe.
Wade no sooner shows up at the missing man's door when bullets begin to fly.
From here out, the action is nonstop. We have spies, Nazis, reporters, cops and Army officials. Period detail and local atmosphere are woven in well. The dialog is crisp and realistic.
Wade is a likable character and so is the newspaper reporter he works with here. We also have a despicable villain and a lot of thugs.
What I liked very much too was the history Parker takes the time to deftly insert. He reminds us that many groups of people were agitating to have their opinions listened to and followed at the time. The complexity of U.S entry into World War II is vividly detailed.
I'm sure we will be hearing more about 1940s Houston and the war itself from Scott Parker. A very fine first entry.
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