Suitcase City: a place where the margaritas are cold, and the danger is hot! Ok that may not have been the best tagline (and to think I used to be a book publicist!) but this gives you a good idea of where this book gets its inspiration. The story takes place in Tampa, Florida, and not surprisingly palm trees and daiquiris are referred to quite a bit. It may seem cliche to some, but it really helps you get into the mood of the book; it also takes place in the late 80s, so I couldn’t help but play a Miami Vice soundtrack in my head while reading this.
Anyway, setting aside, the plot is quite juicy, but very violent. It starts off with some drug running in the mangroves, and progresses to saucy extra-marital affairs, pimping, and jealousy-fuelled murder. Doesn’t this sound like the perfect summer-time read? This is a great book to take to the beach with you, plus if you’re in a warm climate while reading it, you won’t resent the scenes that take place on private yachts, as I did while reading it in sub-zero temperatures.
If you’re a fan of Dennis Lehane’s work (who also happens to be a close friend and mentor to the author Sterling Watson), you’ll definitely enjoy this book. I must admit I hadn’t heard of Sterling before, and from what I can tell he is an up-and-coming name in the genre, but with a big name like Lehane in his corner, he’s in a great position to make a name for himself. Like many authors in his position, he is also a professor of creative writing, so you can be confidant in the fact that his writing is enjoyable and easy to read, at the very least.
Akashic Books has released some great mysteries, as well as some not so great mysteries. However, one thing I’ve noticed about their books in this genre is that they are quite violent and gory: nothing cozy about these mysteries! However, I realize I may be getting a little too used to Murder She Wrote and Alexander McCall Smith, so diving into a book such as this is good for me, and many fans of this genre look for this kind of escapism, so I think Akashic has found a really interesting niche to continue publishing in. I look forward to seeing what comes next!