Canary in the Coal Mine: Charles Salzberg
Fast talker, sarcastic, loves to banter and definitely off the wall and unique, PI Pete Fortunato is the one man who can make about anything that is standing in your way happen.
Women are attracted to him and his manner of dealing with them is not typical as he is about to get drawn into you might say a web of deception, deceit, and betrayal by one smart and a savvy woman named Lila Alston. What does she want? To find her husband Donald! Does she care that he’s missing? Not really. You can tell from the start that she is crafty, self-absorbed, and could care less about anyone but herself. After the banter and the small talk, he agrees to a price to find Donald and when he does his world will take a downward spiral as the link to what happened to him will not only fall on Pete because he finds Donald, but you won’t believe where. Travis Chapman is seeing Lila, but the real reason will not be revealed as it will involve some dangerous people. Finding Donald in Travis’s apartment dead in his bed leads Pete on a downward spiral that will not only make him a suspect as he reports the death, deals with the police and then some seriously angry and dangerous people. Just why was Donald Killed? What does Lila Know? When he learns more about Travis and someone named Susan, we realize that she is not only someone where Lila shops as her customer relations person, but even more. Now he must unravel the mess and author Charles Salzberg presents his method of handling a case in a sharp, slick, and crafty way.
Questions answered and the police taking his statement now the serious business begins as Pete gets dragged in by the Albanian Mob, learns that Donald had a side business of his own and was stealing money from a powerful man named Sergio and now Pete was his prisoner who if he wants to live, has to find Travis, the man whose apartment Donald was found since they think he has something to do with the stolen money that was being laundered. It gets more complicated from this point on.
The author introduces us to the Albanian mob and allows us to understand their past with the amount of research he shares with readers so that we understand their history. As a result of his encounter with Sergio the head of the Mob, Pete now has to work for him, find Travis the package he wants to be delivered and in a sense as the author states, there is no way of knowing whether this has any relationship to what is going on, but the pieces appear to fit when looking at the money, those involved and Pete also like to complete puzzles like crosswords but will this one be completed before anyone else is hurt or worse?
Told in the first-person narrative, the reader gets to hear Pete’s thoughts, method of handling situations, and witnesses each event firsthand. When he finally is released from the mob, he now must find a way to track down Travis and this is ingenious. Back in the saddle as he relates, an answer he hopes will appear but fist some pills, then deciding on the path and with the help of a good friend named Freddie, a great hacker he must find the information needed to track down Travis. Added in a friendly waitress that is smitten with him, gives him an address that will hopefully send him on the right path to find Travis, and wait until you meet his family.
Talking or Lila and trying to learn about her past is not easy. As Pete says: I’ve never met a beautiful woman yet who didn’t know how much power she can wield. And who isn’t shy about wielding it either? What was he doing and why impress her? It gets complicated and interesting when he meets Travis’s family and then uses Google Maps and other resources to find Travis in a bar where he is working but how will he convince him to come with him, explain his connection to the Mob, and understand that he is in deep trouble and if he does not cooperate with him, might find himself like Donald. A canary in a coal mine what does that mean? It’s a warning that something might happen or a dangerous situation> When Travis and Pete finally meet up the encounter is unique, the journey takes them to unusual places, but will they be able to hide from the Mob and what exactly does he know?
Travis is handsome and he thinks he’s going to be the next movie star but he’s also not very astute, bright, and plugged in on a short circuit at times. Pete must keep his cool but at times he explodes what they must do to stay steps ahead of the mob you won’t believe but the mob is not the only ones after them. Why did Travis come to his office and want to hire him? Why is he the one who got hooked up with Lila Also and Donald? Why are these guys having eyes on him, and ears everywhere? Why are they tracking Travis? Poor Travis has no idea. Why does th3 mob have eyes on him? From Texas to New York and places in between Pete and Travis travel many thin lines until the author weaves a pattern of lies, deceptions, and deceits that are hiding right in front of Pete. An ending that leads us to believe it’s not over yet as he fills in the pieces of the puzzle but what if one is still out of place? The idiom means that the new report warns of danger if steps are not taken to reduce climate change and the canary in the coal mind is especially apt because coal is a fossil fuel.
Fran Lewis Just reviews