Cherry Beach Express by R.D. Cain

Cherry Beach Express: A Steve Nastos Mystery (Hardcover) by R. D. Cain

 4 Stars

Detective Nastos, Sexual Crime Unit, is in trouble.  He’s being accused of murdering his daughter’s dentist.  The motive itself, it appears, is quite self-explanatory: the man has “committed an unspeakable crime against his daughter”. He was uncooperative with the policy investigations and is furthermore, unwilling to be forthright with his defence lawyer.  At least, for now, he has decided to investigate this crime on his own.

At first, his freedom was doubtful but by a stroke of luck, he was freed on bail under the custody of his lawyer, Kevin Carscadden.  Having to be babysat all day with only 2 hours of personal business time and a curfew to stick to, he is restricted in his ability to investigate matter by himself.  Unfortunately, whilst there are those who wished him well, there are many more who wished him ill, who will do whatever they can to ‘prove’ his guilt and to be rid of him for good.

A rough but good at heart detective, a recovering alcoholic, a couple of dirty cops, a corrupt DA, a Russian mafia boss, a sassy PA, and loads of more of interesting characters, I’d say it’s worth a read just for the variety of the characters.

It was a quick and easy read for me although at first I found it a little bit hard with the going back and forth in time in alternating chapters (eg. 6 months ago, today, 6 months ago, today, 2 months ago …) to set out the background.  However, after a little bit, the story pretty much stuck to ‘today’ and was well paced (not too fast and not too slow).

I loved Ms Hopkins, Carscadden’s PA and whilst there are some subtle hints as to her background and some particular assistance she provided him in the previous case which enabled him to win, she does not feature very much in the novel but I really wished that there’s more of her!

What really touched me though (maybe I was just in a really mushy mood) was the father-daughter relationship and interaction:

‘”That I would do anything to protect her, that I would do anything for her…  I just held her and this feeling came over me.  I felt this connection when I saw her little face… I would do anything for her. I had doubted my ability to have the instinct but I guess it’s in all of us just waiting to come out.”  Nastos wanted to have her with him now, to smell her skin…’

I couldn’t find much info on the author but I wonder if he has a daughter of his own…

The book ends with a real clever twist at the end.  I would never have guessed! And was definitely led astray with the false lead.


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