Jayson Riley is, on the surface, a very particular kind of man. From the moneyed classes of Chicago’s financial services world, he has the corner office with the view, the cash-rich clients, and a ‘work is everything’ lifestyle he finds hard to put aside. Below the surface, though, various factor are grasping for our main character’s attention. He’s still in love with his ex, who jettisoned him over his work-obsessive lifestyle, with the pair still bonded over their shared love of their dog. Jayson’s got rid of many of the trappings of wealth, preferring to live in a moderate and scantily-furnished dwelling, but one particular client is causing all his problems to come to a head.
Cincinnati is the mysterious character at the heart of a Venezuelan political movement who needs to make a quick buck fast, and Riley’s taken on the role of making it happen through a series of risky investment maneuvers. He doesn’t, however, know how the money is being used. One day, Cincinnati turns up dead, weighed-down beneath the waterline in a financial services heartland, the Cayman Islands, and Jayson is the last person to have seen her alive. Quickly, he finds himself accused of her murder, and embroiled in some suspicious looking financial moves that back up the accusation. That ex, meanwhile, finds herself on the other side of the investigation, trying to protect Jayson from the law from within the police force. Her suspicions are growing, too.
INVESTING IN MURDER is a clever book, but not a spellbindingly original one. The characters do well in stepping outside the obvious tropes of their murder-mystery setting, but the general plot arc–one in which Jayson’s place in a dodgy-looking scheme slowly comes to light–will have a sense of familiarity to most regular thriller readers. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course: this is a rapidly-paced book and genuinely will entice readers to fire through its pages, looking for the story behind the mysterious disappearance and death of Cincinnati. The love story has a different, desperate sense to it, like the main character is only realizing his own feelings as the novel progresses.
The result is limited, perhaps, by there being only a handful of core characters who could conceivably form part of the unraveling. That said, it’s not an identikit thriller–there’s substantial depth and character development putting paid to that–and it is cleverly and carefully constructed and its a strong start to what will be a full series of Jayson Riley books..
INVESTING IN MURDER is a page-turning mystery with well-developed characters, cleverly-woven parallel tales and a finger in the shady world of international financial dealings. The disparate angles add up to a memorable, fast-moving plot.
~James Hendicott for IndieReader