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The Abduction of Patient Zero

(The sixth book in the Joey Mancuso, Father O'Brian Crime Mystery series)
A novel by

As the men around her are dropping like flies

In his sixth labyrinthine hard-boiled puzzler, NYC private eye Joey Mancuso finds himself neck-deep in a maze of a murder mystery - the kind that weaves through military secrets and international espionage - at the center of which is the woman he loves.

Despite a recent drop in New York City's crime rate, the PI business is booming for acutely-astute investigator Joey Mancuso and his partner-in-solving-crime Father Dominic O'Brian (who happens to be his half-brother). So it's no surprise when Mancuso is called to the scene of a particularly gruesome and utterly confounding Lower Manhattan murder one otherwise pleasant afternoon.

The vic, Oscar Stanton (name etched into his designer trousers), was gunned down in Washington Square Park in broad daylight, just after a lunchtime rendezvous with a business associate. A quick and dirty ID reveals the real Oscar Stanton was working in cybersecurities for the DOD - and, perhaps unsurprisingly, was KIA in Afghanistan. And since Mancuso's antics tend to weave a winding yarn as intricately-connected as a satisfying Sherlock Holmes, it's even less surprise that the imposter Stanton's lunch date was someone recently tailed by FBI agent Marcy Martinez (who happens to be Mancuso's wife).

When crucial evidence from the scene is found in Marcy's car - and Marcy's hands test positive for gunshot residue - it's off to the races. Clearly, Mancuso deduces, she's being framed - elementary, dear Watson. But why? At first, the signs point to her partner, Thomas Lyons. After all, she has a history of shall we say unreliable partners (i.e. murderous psychopaths). And Lyons, as luck would have it, has mysteriously gone awol - until his body is found stuffed in a janitor's closet at a subway station.

As a complex white collar crimes case unfolds with the usual barrage of infighting between the NYPD, CIA, FBI, and military intelligence, it becomes increasingly evident that, despite personal ties to the case, Mancuso and his associates are Marcy's only hope. They must race the clock - and a likely well-connected killer, not to mention the intelligence forces the killer certainly has in his back pocket - to catch the FBI's missing suspect and clear Marcy - before she's falsely accused of espionage and murder. Or goes the way of the men surrounding her.

Who will like this: It's Matt Scudder meets Father Brown. Fans of both New York PI novels and police procedurals like those by Raymond Chandler, Joseph Wambaugh, Lawrence Block, and Rex Stout - and of clerical mysteries - will love this offbeat detective team. As will devotees of the greatest detective of all time, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.

Genre: Mystery

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