Former burned-out sports journalist turned private investigator and recovering alcoholic Pete Fernandez is back, but life’s not easy this time around for Alex Segura’s series protagonist.
Following the events of Dangerous Ends, Pete is still sober, but he doesn’t have much else working in his favor. He’s set up shop in Rockland County, New York, where he’s opened his own private investigating firm, but business is relatively slow until Ellen McRyan, the wife of Trevor McRyan, a Florida state senator, walks into his office begging him to help the power couple find their missing son. Last time around, Pete squared off with Los Enfermos, a pro-Castro gang of savage thugs based in Miami. With the way things ended, he’s in no hurry to return to his hometown.
After wrestling with the McRyans’ offer, it ends up being a photograph that pulls Pete towards the case. One of the men pictured is Kenny Sampson, a man from Pete’s past, stemming all the way back to when he was a teenager. The story shifts backward, as Segura takes readers back in time to Pete’s high school days, chronicling his friendship with Patty Morales. After years of crushing on Patty, Pete was badly hurt when he finally learned and accepted that those romantic feelings were not reciprocated. A short while later, Patty went missing, never to be heard from again. The last lead the police were able to chase had come from Kenny, who later vanished himself.
Agreeing to work for the McRyans, Pete sets out to solve the personal cold case from his past while also trying to help the senator’s son. . . putting him on a collision course with a shadowy cult leader who is equal parts evil and charming, with an equally dangerous following to boot.
Though Blackout is the fourth book in Segura’s series, readers can jump into this one without missing a beat thanks to the author’s solid job bringing newcomers up to speed on past events. While other supporting characters pop up, including fan-favorite Kathy Bentley, the story mostly focuses on Pete, who, in the words of Ripcord (played by Marlon Wayans in G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra) has so many issues that his issues have issues. Seriously, Pete has enough past demons to fill multiple layers of hell, and Segura develops him especially well in his latest novel. Longtime fans will get a kick out of seeing Pete as a teenager during the flashback scenes, which are really well done.
If Blackout isn’t Alex Segura’s best book, it’s definitely in the top two, and crime fans will surely enjoy following Pete Fernandez through this twisting and turning plot that features a worthy villain and plenty of surprises.
Author: Alex Segura
Series: Pete Fernandez #4
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Polis Books
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.