The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir:
Ray Quinn is a tough, quick-witted homicide detective in love with his partner, Trisha Willis. She gives Ray something to live for—something to hope in. Until a barrage of bullets leaves Trisha murdered and Ray crippled.
Struggling with his new physical disability and severe depression, Quinn turns to whiskey, scorn, and a job as a night watchman to numb the pain. But when a pastor and a dancer are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, the pastor’s sister approaches Quinn for help.
Reluctantly, Quinn takes the case and is plunged into the perilous Orlando underbelly. Soon he discovers that, not only was the pastor murdered, but the case may be linked to his and Trisha’s ambush. Torn between seeking revenge or responsibility, Quinn is thrust into the case of his life.
Author Mark Mynheir gives readers his most profound police thriller to date with The Night Watchman (first book in The Night Watchman Private Detective Agency Series). Readers of all ages will devour this gripping murder mystery that bristles with tension and intrigue. In a taut cop-style all his own, Mynheir delivers an inside look at the thoughts, feelings, fears, and challenges police officers experience while investigating violent crimes and the lost souls who commit them.
A detective with the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Palm Bay Police Department, Mark Mynheir investigates violent crimes and writes riveting Christian fiction. A U.S. Marine with a passion for martial arts and firearms training, Mark has worked on narcotics units, SWAT teams, and myriad high-risk situations. His four novels offer a realistic glimpse into the gritty world of law enforcement and the rarely seen raw emotions behind the badge. Mark lives in Florida with his wife and three children. (What the canned bio doesn't say is that Mark's a super-nice guy--I've met him a couple times. I just finished listening to the continuing education track Mark taught at the 2008 ACFW Conference on Police Procedural in Fiction. I have no intention of writing a cop book, but I was riveted by the lectures, fascinating stuff.)
My Review: I was BLOWN AWAY by this book! I think Mark Mynheir has hit on something really special with his protagonist Ray Quinn. The first person voice is perfect in this story. I have told so many people about this book, including my pastor (who read it in something like two days--I got a note saying the book had cost him a lot of sleep because he couldn't put it down--and he blogged about it HERE.) I talked about it to the staff at the local Christian bookstore when I was there at a book signing. I read bits out loud to whoever happened to be near me in my house. I thought about this book all the time! And I'm still thinking about it. As good as Mark's debut series The Truth Chasers was, The Night Watchman is the best from Mark so far by far.
Some gems in the story for me:
- The detective's voice - His sarcasm (used as a shield) is biting and funny and a bit sad
- Crevis Creighton - The best and most unlikely side-kick I've read in a long time
- The spiritual elements - Real Christians with real struggles, and the protagonist isn't a zealous believer by the end of the book. He's questioning, doubtful, fearful, and the whole story doesn't wrap up with three points and a poem. It feels so REAL!
- The cop stuff - Because the author is a been-there-done-that cop, everything about the police procedures and the psychology of the protagonist has resounding veracity.
- The story - The way this story loops around full circle was BRILLIANT! and so very satisfying.
I'd compare this book to James Scott Bell's Ty Buchanan series, and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series. It's THAT good.
If you'd like to purchase a copy of The Night Watchman, click HERE.