Book Review: San Diego private eye tangles with FBI and Russian mob in fast-paced 'Odyssey’s End'

Author Matt Coyle has put San Diego private eye Rick Cahill through a lot in his fine series of crime novels. Rick has accumulated sinister enemies on both sides of the law. He’s been shot and beaten so many times that his body is laced with scars. And he’s in the early stages of CTE, a degenerative brain disease that unleashes fits of rage and may soon kill him.

His wife, convinced that Rick’s work — and Rick himself —are too dangerous, has left him, taking their 20-month-old daughter with her.

As “Odyssey’s End,” the 10th book in the series, opens, Rick is considering another line of work but fears he’s too much of an adrenaline junkie to give it up. Still, he can’t quit just yet — not until he can tuck enough money aside to secure his little girl’s future.

Such is his state of mind when two old enemies suddenly reappear. Sergei Volkov, a homicidal Russian mob boss who has reasons to want Rick dead, has just been released from federal prison. And Peter Stone, Rick’s longtime nemesis, shows up with a surprising request.

Stone says he needs a kidney transplant, but aging, violent criminals don’t rank high on donor lists. His only hope is an organ from his grown daughter, but she’s gone missing. So Stone wants Rick to find her.

Rick figures Stone’s story is a lie, or at least not the whole truth. Besides, there’s no way Rich wants to work for this psychopath. But when Stone hands him $50,000 dollars, Rick reluctantly takes the job.

As he digs into the case, Rick is threatened by two FBI agents who mistakenly think he is searching for Theodore Raskin, the fugitive founder of a fraudulent crypto currency firm. Soon, more complications arise, and several people associated with Rick’s investigation end up dead.

Coyle’s prose is vivid and tight, his characters are well drawn, and the tension rarely lets up in this fast-paced tale of duplicity and betrayal. The climactic scene is a long-drawn-out gun battle in which Rick, armed with a handgun, takes on a small army of Russian mobsters brandishing automatic rifles. That Rick prevails is satisfying in a John Wick sort of way, but some readers might his survival a tad farfetched.


Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.”


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