MICHAEL CRAVEN – The Detective & the Chinese High-Fin. John Darvelle #2. Harper, trade paperback; 1st printing, 2016.

   I read and reviewed The Detective & the Pipe Girl, the first adventure of LA PI John Darvelle here, way back in March 2015. It was a long review, and if it wasn’t completely a rave review, it was as close to being one as it could get without actually being one.

   This one’s almost as good, and there’s no good reason why it’s taken as long as it has for me to get around to reading it. After a short prologue of sorts, in which Darv finds a old woman’s missing ring. he gets down to real business when a friend of sorts on the police force refers a client to him. A married couple, actually, one whose son was shot and killed in their driveway, and the cops have made no headway on the case.

   The son, unfortunately, was the kind of guy that no one has any use for, once they get to know him, so there’s no shortage of suspects. The problem is that all of them have ironclad alibis, so Darvelle goes fishing on the edge of things, which means checking out a tropical fish business that the dead man had at one time invested in. (Hence the title.)

   Darvelle tells his own story, which means we get his opinions on almost everything, including his own personal philosophy of life. I don’t mean to say that this is a bad thing, but after a while the middle of the book seems to sag a little.

   But around the two-thirds mark, the action picks up again in a most satisfactory way, and as it turns out everything that has come before also comes back into play. At the end of the book Darvelle in fact is given quite a moral dilemma to work his way through. I think he makes the right decision; and if you read the book for yourself, you can see if you agree or not.

   To this date, there has not been a third book in the series. I’d like to think there will be, but it’s quite possible that, for many possible reasons, there won’t. But if that’s the case, then at least we have the two in hand, and that can’t be taken away from us.