by Joe Clifford
Series: Jay Porter #3
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Three years have passed since estate-clearing handyman Jay Porter almost lost his life following a devastating accident on the thin ice of Echo Lake. His investigative work uncovering a kids-for-cash scandal may have made his hometown of Ashton, New Hampshire, a safer place, but nothing comes without a price. The traumatic, uncredited events cost Jay his wife and his son, and left him with a permanent leg injury. Jay is just putting his life back together when a mysterious stranger stops by with an offer too good to be true: a large sum of cash in exchange for finding a missing teenage boy who may have been abducted by a radical recovery group in the northern New Hampshire wilds. Skeptical of gift horses and weary of reenlisting in the local drug war, Jay passes on the offer. The next day his boss is found beaten and left for dead, painting Jay the main suspect. As clues begin to tie the two cases together, Jay finds himself back on the job--and back in the line of fire.
It’s time for a guest visit from Sophia Rose and today she is sharing another Jay Porter mystery; Give Up the Dead by Joe Clifford. Grab a cup of hot peppermint mocha and enjoy!
Sophia Rose’s Review
An underdog protagonist who badly needs a win in his life is up against dangerous, powerful people to clear himself of murder and find a missing teen, but, it’s not like he hasn’t been in a tough spot before. This latest in the Jay Porter series was reminiscent of old-style hard-boiled detective fiction from decades past and I was pulled in from the start.
Give Up the Dead is the third book in the Jay Porter series and takes place about three years after the close of the second book. These books do seem to continue an ongoing story with Jay at the center, but this was my first book from the series and I had no difficulty starting from here since the author caught the reader up on the events in the past.
Jay is not a likable guy in many ways and prefers to be alone and keep his circle of friendship and acquaintance small. He is the ultimate underdog and the sadness and depression pours off him leaving me hoping for a little sunlight in his gray world. He’s bitter about the past and how life in general is treating him let alone the specifics of losing everyone he loves including an ex-wife who left him with their son in tow letting him only have brief visits and resenting while understanding her choice for the put together businessman type. He suffers from PTSD and anxiety from trauma he experienced from going up against powerful corruption who killed someone he cared about right before his eyes and nearly killed him. He’s never gotten past the stigma of having a drug-addicted brother who is rumored to be responsible for their parents’ death which was why Jay was suspect number one in the assault situation in this story. He gets kicked around and put down often, but there is something in him that gets back up and keeps going. He cares even though he doesn’t want to so it gets him into places that other people won’t go.
There are two mysteries in the beginning that keep Jay working for answers. It isn’t the type of mystery that the culprit is hard to guess, but more along the lines of how to nail the person with solid proof so the law can get involved.
This might seem like a downer read and it is in ways especially since Jay is a borderline addict to his drink, cigs, and pain meds, but there is something in the author’s writing and the characters he creates that made me cheer things on and engage with the story. Even when the setting of this small, remote town in northern New Hampshire just after Thanksgiving with cold and blizzards is painted, I felt the chill because his language was so vivid. There is a great deal about addiction and recovery in this one and the author writes from a place of knowledge and experience to give it a layer of authenticity.
So, this first foray into the author’s work and the Jay Porter series left me ready for more. This was not light and it was a gritty piece that had a noir quality that I can recommend to mystery readers.An underdog protagonist who badly needs a win in his life is up against dangerous, powerful people to clear himself of murder and find a missing teen in Giving Up the Dead by Joe Clifford #mystery #guestreview Click To Tweet
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