Author : P. Wesley Lundburg
Pages : 236
Publication date : May 6, 2017
In The Stateroom Tryst, the first book in the Clayton Chronicles, Clay is hired by an attractive, affluent woman who wants to learn the truth behind her husband’s overnight “business” trips and spending binges. She suspects a gambling addiction, and Clay sets out to solve the mystery. When her husband is murdered among an entourage of people tailing him, Clay realizes this is no ordinary marital investigation. His tenacity leads him to uncover a dangerous alliance that takes even his hardened experience by surprise.
What a breath of fresh air this one is! First of all, check out that cover. And how about that cool title? My attention was grabbed immediately. P. Wesley Lundburg is one of those very talented indie authors out there who needs more attention. Well, here’s my attempt to get some of that for him.
Now I have never read any of those old time detective books featuring Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe, but one reviewer likens PI Rick “call me Clay” Clayton to those investigators, except that Clay’s work is set in the present day. All I know is that it was a pleasure to attach myself to Clay and experience the ride totally first hand. This was made possible by first person (Clay’s) narration and the inclusion of Clay in virtually every scene. Thus the reader has a very clear view of how this PI goes about his business.
In a nutshell, Clay is hired by a wealthy woman to find out if her husband is dallying about with other women. Well, things end up being way more interesting than that. Clay finds himself dealing with plenty of deception and corruption and people trying to “dissuade him” from digging into things. Oh, and murders. Several of them.
The book stays on plot and moves quickly. You fast readers out there could get through this one in a long afternoon. The narrative is punctuated with a series of nifty twists and revelations. There are also some fun action scenes. What I liked best was watching Clay break down the case using old-fashioned hard work, keen thinking, and expert help from his core of friends and associates.
I really liked Clay. Basically, Clay is a loner, but he has a small core of people around him through whom we learn more about him. There’s his computer hacker friend Clifford and Clifford’s mother, Tia Louise, both of whom Clay has known since boyhood. Clay has no family of his own, and goes out of his way to visit these two every week. Clifford has some sort of affliction (my guess would be something along the Asperger’s spectrum) that makes him different; Tia Louise appreciates the PI for maintaining a long term friendship with her son. Clay also seemingly eats most of his meals at the Harborview Diner, and he is very tight with the owner/cook, Lionel. They do lots of favors for each other. Then there’s his sage elderly boss who owns the agency and the boss’s sons, aka the Tweedles. Clay’s kind side glows when he is dealing with these people. I loved this supporting cast.
I understand this the first book of a planned series. I was definitely entertained by The Stateroom Tryst and will most certainly pick up book 2 when it becomes available. I highly recommend this novel for a fast and different sort of PI story. I have also downloaded the author’s other two novels (from the Frank Mattituck series) and look forward to digging into those soon.
Great job, and thanks for being different, Mr. Lundburg!
The Stateroom Tryst was published on May 6th.