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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Billionaire's Row by Sullivan Wheeler

Billionaire's Row by Sullivan Wheeler
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemp, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (360 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Detective Michael Weiss has enough to deal with. Between being part of a dysfunctional police department and having a vain and demanding lover who Michael suspects is only using him for personal gain, it's all Michael can do to keep himself sane. When the body of Craig Davies, a wealthy defense lawyer, is found on former television star Sam Christiansen's front lawn, Michael knows that everyone—his bosses, his partner at the police department, and Brian, his lover—will be looking to him for answers.

Despite a quick solution that results in a dead suspect, the case turns out to be much more complex than it first appears. Michael uncovers a twisted web of relationships, a web that inexorably draws him into a passionate tangle of love and greed where more and more people are turning up dead. It's critical that Michael find justice for Sam as their attraction grows... but it will take a back seat to keeping them both alive.

A dead body in Billionaire’s Row is exactly what Detective and near alcoholic Michael Weiss doesn’t need. But his partner is determined to bask in the spotlight of the high profile case while his bosses want a quick resolution and an easy target. Michael just can’t let the case go that easily and he starts to pick into the lives of the various and sundry rich characters that surround Billionaire’s Row. From ex-wives to gardeners, slutty lawyers, and even an iconic TV star, Michael’s just not sure what is the truth and what’s a lie – even in his own life.

Billionaire’s Row is a hard hitting detective novel. The mystery of the dead rich guy is the main focus and thus likely to appeal to those fans of police procedurals. The whodunit is pretty well cast and clever. I didn’t guess who the villain was until it was revealed towards the end so the story does a great job in keeping you wondering. There are a lot of possible suspects and Michael is caught between facts and his intuition, not sure if he should trust either. The mystery has many details of the step by step police case as Michael tries to solve the murder. Thankfully having been accepted among the rich set puts Michael drinking among all the potential suspects and giving a nice alternative view instead of just dry police actions.

The characters are three dimensional and Michael is definitely the star. He’s also hard to like as an alcoholic that starts the book throwing up in the victim’s toilet and then drinks his way through the nights with hungover days trying to solve the mystery. There is a romance with possible suspect and TV actor Sam, although this is definitely not the strength of the story. Here the "romance" is based mostly on sex and there’s very little reason why Sam would bother with Michael. In fact Michael seems more connected to his ex-boyfriend Brian, the TV anchor always trying to use Michael for an inside tip or story.

However, since the story never really tries to be a romance, the mystery is where the focus is. This is interesting, engaging, and keeps the pages turning to figure out the ending. The final resolution is a little too easy but leaves no hanging threads. Fans of classic police procedural stories are likely to really enjoy this one.

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