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By Sean Patrick Little

IR Rating:
Spot-on with his descriptions of locales, Sean Patrick Little's WHERE ART THOU? includes interesting plots and subplots, but a moderately low level of suspense begets an ultimately slow-moving plot.

The unlikely detective duo of Abe and Duff may be in over their heads when billionaire George McMahon hires them to find the culprit who stole a meaningful drawing from his collection of fine art.

When private detective partners Abe and Duff receive a call from billionaire George McMahon to investigate the theft of a framed pen-and-ink drawing from his home, they jump at the opportunity. The artist of the stolen piece, who went by the pen name Argos, had died a few months earlier from a drug overdose. He was new to the Chicago art scene, and McMahon had been trying to help him get noticed. George is baffled why someone would steal one of the lesser-valued art pieces from his home when he has in his collection others worth substantially more, including originals by worldwide famous artists. He is willing to pay Abe and Duff whatever it takes to recover the drawing.

Abe and Duff are the “odd couple” of private detectives. Abe is soft-spoken and reserved. Duff is uninhibited, tactless, and often rude. Abe presents himself as a professional in every situation. Duff typically comes across as a goofball, offering nothing more than comic relief in most situations. They have never worked on such a high-profile case before and hope they are not playing outside of their league. In their quest to identifying the art thief, Abe and Duff meet a variety of influential people in the art world. Among them are a Northwestern University art history professor, an upscale art broker, and an art expert from the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Each provides a few pieces of the puzzle that enable Abe and Duff to uncover clues and eventually solve the mystery.

Author Sean Patrick Little is on point with his descriptions of Chicago neighborhoods, especially the historic Gold Coast community where the bulk of the scenes take place. His creative use of setting not only serves as a backdrop for the various scenes but also gives the story relative context. While the WHERE ART THOU plot and subplots are interesting, an inordinate amount of back story, description, and introspection slow the pace of the narrative and impede the continuous building of tension found in most mysteries. Increased action, fewer paragraphs dedicated to setting up the scenes, and less banter between Abe and Duff would improve the pacing and help to engage readers and sustain their interest. Additional plot points, a few well-placed red herrings, and more unexpected twists and turns would serve to escalate tension and create suspense.

Spot-on with his descriptions of locales, Sean Patrick Little’s WHERE ART THOU? includes interesting plots and subplots, but a moderately low level of suspense begets an ultimately slow-moving plot.

~Florence Osmund for IndieReader

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