What I've Been Reading - Made Safe
The streets of Des Moines are just as mean as Spenser's Boston in this impressive debut.
In the first casebook of private detective Moses Winter, Francis Sparks exposes the underbelly of immigrant culture in a gripping, noir novel.
Made Safe, while listed on the cover as the first adventure of Des Moines-based detective Winter, is just as much the story of Raif Rakíc, the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) investigator who crosses paths with Winter, as the two strike up an uneasy alliance.
Winter takes what should be an easy case of getting proof of a cheating husband, but before he knows it, he and Rakíc are neck deep in a fight against a Bosnian crime ring leaving a trail of bodies on the streets of Iowa's capital city.
Sparks advances the various threads of a complicated mystery with facility, utilizing multiple points of view as a tool, not a cheat, as is often the case. Both of the story's heroes are damaged men, whose histories and personalities lead them to make mistakes and trust the wrong people.
The story takes many delightful twists and turns, but again, Sparks always plays fair with his reader, expertly hiding the clues that only become obvious after the plot is revealed.
An impressive debut from a talented writer. Sign me up for the next adventure of Moses Winterl