Patricia Delaney, eGumshoe extraordinaire, is back and better than the last time. Sharon Short’s computer-savvy private eye, who uses her vast knowledge of computers to solve crimes, was good in Past Pretense, but in The Death We Share, which I received a free copy of to review, she storms through cyber space like a comet and shines with the brilliance of a nova.
When retired opera diva and movie star Carlotta Moses is contacted by a sleazy TV tabloid journalist and ‘threatened’ with exposure about a supposed past misdeed, her family contacts Delaney for help. As is her style, eGumshoe Delaney uses her expertise with computers to get to the bottom of the case, but she also has the requisite physical encounters which must be overcome.
In the introduction to this and her previous book, Short mentions that she’d received writing advice from noted mystery author Sue Grafton, and the fact that she took Grafton’s advice to heart is evident in every well-chosen word. The little snippets of self-deprecating humor – hard to do in third person, but she achieves it – the tidbits about the main character’s background that helps the reader to get to know and sympathize with her are typical of Grafton’s book, but Short has done them in her own unique style.
The mystery world could use more of Patricia Delaney. This could, in fact, be the makings of a great TV series – Hollywood, are you listening? Five stars!
Private investigator Patricia Delaney is hired by Gigi Lafferty to take on an unusual case – Lafferty, after having called Delaney and asking her to investigate her husband to see if he’s cheating, arrives late for their appointment and announces that she actually wants herself investigated. An expert in using the computer to ferret out information, Delaney reluctantly takes the case. She finds nothing unusual, but when she finds Lafferty murdered at her house, she learns that her client is actually an acquaintance from her past – Loretta King, a former exotic dancer at a club where Delaney had worked as a dancer. Unfortunately, the police suspect her as the killer, and she now has to prove her own innocence.
Past Pretense by Sharon Short is a spellbinding tale of murder, intrigue, and secrets that I received a free copy of in exchange for an unbiased review. I found myself totally captivated from page one, and couldn’t put it down until the end. Short is a master at weaving a tale of suspense, with rich description of people and places that draws the reader into the world she’s created. Her use of the third person enables us to see everything that’s going on, but she skillfully plants clues that force the reader to pay careful attention. I found myself rooting for Delaney from the outset, captivated by her merging of computer skills with good, old-fashioned gumshoe work, as she sets about not only solving Lafferty’s murder, but as she delves into her own past to solve an old crime that she’d long since forgotten.
Past Pretense sets a new standard for the genre, and I look forward to Short’s next offering. While five-stars is the maximum one can give – I’d like to be sneaky and give this one six.