Two Guys Detective Agency
by Stephanie Bond
Book 1 of Two Guys Detective Agency
I think I had been expecting a whole lot more from this book than a simple teasing introduction. While the book is tagged as a mystery, and the cover even suggests that this is a "Humorous Mystery Series," I certainly did not find any part of that title to be true.
It's probably why the series was renamed to simply Two Guys Detective Agency? The concept was going to be a nice one, even if a little overdone. Two sisters, down on their luck when they find themselves husband-less and broke, reluctantly team up to take on a private investigation agency.
The summary suggests so much more than what actually happens in the book. We spend a good 60% of the book itself setting up the "What will Linda and Octavia do now?" part of their failing marriages and broken families. And while I liked the whole aspect of them maybe finding a niche in taking over Linda's husband's investigation agency, starting off by helping him close a few domestic cases, the entirety of that story line maybe comprised about 10% of the book... if even that.
I was even hoping that maybe the two would stumble upon a criminal case and a murder and help solve that case, and maybe make a name for themselves. But aside from closing a few insurance fraud cases, and maybe helping to find patient zero for a spreading STD case in a nursing home (the conclusion they came up with was both, a long stretch, and not at all able to be proven with anything but speculation), nothing that these two women do suggest that they are cut out for investigative work.
Which makes me extra resentful that I felt righteous indignation on their behalf that everyone else also snapped to the judgment that the two of them couldn't possibly be good investigators, for other reasons that I didn't like. Because it's the truth, but the other people didn't know that they were doing a laughing-stock of a job being investigators. They were just all, "Well, you're just a stay at home mom and wife. What could you possibly know about investigative work?"
To be honest, Two Guys felt like a drawn out introductory of sorts. The only true mystery was the question of what happened to Octavia's husband, Richard, and what he ended up getting himself involved in. Then there was the very, very open-ended conclusion regarding Richard's dealings, which turned out much more chaotic than I had expect... and also wasn't quite concluded, if we were to really be honest with ourselves.
Virtually nothing is really solved in this book, but the characters convene and close out the story as if everything is just wrapped up nicely with a bow on top. And I probably would have been less upset if everything had been wrapped up nicely with a bow on top. But there are so many loose ends, and so many more questions that need to be answered, and even so many turn of events in the entire story that made absolutely no sense.
The missing case files that the D.A.'s office is still requesting from Linda's husband, Sullivan's agency and how they relate with a murder case labeled "Foxtrot" was never closed out. The mysterious evidence bag that Richard left with the maid, who was then killed, and which now leads to an even bigger mysterious twist in the book was, again, also still left hanging.
Then there's the death of Linda's husband, Sullivan, which I kept getting vibes that there was much more to it than a simple heart attach. I keep trying to connect the "Foxtrot" case with his death, and my line of thinking when it comes to crime thrillers, or even cozy mysteries, is that there is definitely a connection.
And then, for some reason, I find Dunk Duncan--the private investigator who works on more high-end cases--kind of shady. Mainly, the fact that he offered to pick up all of Sullivan's open cases seemed a little sketchy to me. Or maybe I'm just paranoid. And then I'm even seeing some sketchiness in Detective Oakley Hall as well--something about him gives me bad vibes.
Unfortunately, as I already stated, there were so many things left unanswered, so many loose ends that had no tie up. And the ending was so abrupt that it might as well have been a cliffhanger--it almost feels as if our author just sort of needed to wind things up and turn in a manuscript because she was meeting a deadline, and screw the quality of the book.
Anyway, I'm contemplating reading the next book whenever it finally gets published, though, to be honest, it's kind of a stretch, and I might just stop here. Aside from the children and the dog, and maybe Brittany, the Waffle House waitress, I didn't really care for anyone else in this book. Octavia was driving me insane with her self-absorbed selfishness, and Linda really, really needed to grow a backbone.
But I DO find the parallel of both women, having molded their entire lives around their respective husbands, then finding themselves in a quandary when they both lose their husbands, kind of a great premise to bounce off of. If anything, it gave the two a chance to rekindle their estranged relationship.
This book is tagged 'mystery' on GR.
Page Count: 255
Cash Award: $3.00
Updated Bank Balance: $53.00
The foreward of this book says it’s for Silvio fans. Which was a hook for me because I’ve been desperate for Silvio to be developed in this series for some time.
Silvio is an interesting concept – the admin support for the criminal empire. The PA for the mob boss. A man – well vampire – who lives in a city that is so corrupt and so overtaken by criminal gangs that it needs its own bureaucracy.
And Silvio has been such a blank slate for a long time which is a shame and deeply problematic. He’s a skilled administrator who likes order and values Gin –but that’s not exactly a personality, it’s a series of quirks that just make him useful to Gin. Which is basically what we see of him – an admin assistant who is there to, in Gin’s words “mother her” without actually having anything in the way of his own life.
This was a chance for us to see a lot more of him, his memories, how he feels about working for Gin. Also what it means for him to be a vampire, what blood he drinks, how he gets it, how he feels about that. This series often treats the various creatures that inhabit the world somewhat casually – “Fred is a Giant”, “Latoya is a Dwarf” without much looking through the eyes of them. So seeing Silvio talk about his blood drinking, think about it and relate to it is an interesting expansion not just of him but the entire world.
This story gave Silvio a relationship, opinions, nice quirks like his sweet tooth and generally made the first steps towards turning him from a random extra who existed to serve into an actual character.
I do have issues though. Firstly, my issue is that this is a short story. Silvio has, since his introduction, been a blink-and-you-miss-it LGBT inclusion, as well as a Latino character (though we do have other latino characters as well) There are several books with Silvio in them which you can read and you won’t realise he is a gay character at all. So this definitely needed expanding and developing to actually make his inclusion more than the very thinnest of tokenism – but this doesn’t do that. This is exactly what we talked about in our post of Quite Portrayals of minorities. Rather than having Silvio’s relationships, sexuality and character development happen as part of the main plot line, it’s relegated to a side-book, a short story, a fluff piece that has no real connection to the main plot line. More, the story is even set up so Silvio doesn’t tell Gin, Sophia or anyone else what happened so they will never bring it up again. Sophia, Roslyn, Finn, Owen all had major books devoted to their personal storyline and trauma – and the whole cast were involved in it. They reference it because of that (I am currently reading Snared in which Gin refers to Sophia’s past as a perfect example)
This was unfortunately not good.
It was not entertaining, there was no suspense, and the main characters were largely uninteresting.
It shows imho that the author is not an M/M author.
Nice try, is the most polite thing I can say about it.
I stopped reading halfway through - not a good thing with such a short novella given the speed of my reading.