Mordecai’s Ashes (Larsson Investigations Book 1) by Arlana Crane
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Published: Big Tree Press (1 June 2020)
Swathi’s Rating: 4/5
Verdict: A splendid start to a character-driven, atmospheric PI series. Definitely looking forward to more.
About the Book
Karl Larsson is an out of work roughneck, home from the oil fields of Alberta and back on the coast for the first time in years. His wife has left him and his future looks bleak. Becoming a detective is the last thing on his mind, but when Karl learns that he has inherited his estranged grandfather’s agency he decides to take a chance.
He doesn’t expect much action in a city as small as Victoria, BC, but Karl soon finds that Victoria is only the base of operations. His grandfather’s business took him across the length and breadth of Vancouver Island, and the Island is a world unto itself, with a culture all its own.
When a reporter from a national news agency asks him to investigate a drug running operation on the Island, Karl is drawn into a dangerous game. Finding the truth sounds simple in theory, but as Karl delves deeper he begins to realize that more than his life may be at stake.
Time and again I pick up an indie author and wish I’d known this author for a long time and read more of their works. Some of them are so underrated that I feel bad for them. I think Arlana Crane here is one such. She’s definitely a woman with great vocabulary that I found smooth to read and a master storyteller with meticulous details she gives to her plot and characters.
Mordecai’s Ashes is the first book to a new series featuring Karl Larsson and his teenage niece Kelsey, who is sharp as a whip. Karl is now out of job, out of a cheating marriage and basically homeless. So when the news of him inheriting his grandfather’s Detective agency hits him, he decides to take it over and give a shot. Business is slow but its building up and Karl has all the time in the world. Old man Percy downstairs who is a friend of Mordecai is always there to help him.
Until one day, a journalist client of Mordecai visits the agency with a case that he now wants Karl to take over and investigate. It involves illegal drugs that are passed into Vancouver city through the Island, and harmful to kids using them. Apparently noone knows its origin and that’s what Karl begins to find out. What follows is Karl’s hard work and undercover operations to explore and find evidence to the mafia underworld which soon gets dangerous and out of hand. Will he be able to handle it without risking his life and the lives of other who depend on him before its too late?
Since it’s the first book, Arlana takes it slow to introduce her characters, and let us grow with them as the story progresses. We get a detailed glimpse of Karl’s evolution from an ammeter to professional, as he experiments his talents on people and deduction. Karl is really likeable and he’s proving to be a better PI and a quick learner and I expect to see more of his ventures in the series. Meanwhile it is Kelsey who kept me engaged. She has a fierce tongue and a no nonsense attitude that I completely enjoyed.
Mordecai’s Ashes is a nice popcorn read that I snuggled up with on a cozy rainy day and escaped to the rainy locale of Vancouver. I’m glad that I had the pleasure to read this book and looking forward to reading more in the series. I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Highly recommended series to look out for.