Pay or Play
A Charlie Waldo Novel #3
Howard Michael Gould
Severn House, December 2021
Charlie Waldo, formerly a detective in the LAPD, went to pieces when a case he worked on went awry due to his mishandling. Now living in the country and allowing himself only 100 possessions at a time, his PI girlfriend, Lorena, wants him to work with her. Run out of his California country home by wildfire, he joins her in the city where he’s soon swept up in a case. Or two cases, as it happens.
Charlie has the reputation of being a crackerjack detective. He becomes involved in solving a “maybe” murder and is charged with finding the murdered man’s missing dog. Actually, upon threat of Charlie’s life, it’s find the dog or else, as his client is a gangster. At the same time, he’s become enamored of a TV judge’s show, and when she asks for his help, he answers the call. Now he’s determined to discover the truth of whether a thirty-five-year-old death was an accident or murder. The more he learns, the more he wonders if the judge herself is guilty of murder.
Waldo is consumed by the effects of global warming, of saving the environment, is a fanatic recycler and even rides a bicycle everywhere he goes. Worthy endeavors, to be admired. That said, did I like him as a character? Let’s say, I found him quirky in the extreme and interesting.
Reviewed by Carol Crigger, November 2021.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery