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The Fairfax Incident
September 20, 2018
The Fairfax Incident by Terrence McCauley Polis Books Historical Fiction , Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 15 Jun 2018
When Hitler rose to power in the early 1930’s on a tide of nationalism, fascist groups emerged in many countries including the United States. With the economy in shreds, unemployment at an all time high and prohibition, little attention was paid. It is not surprising that The Fairfax Incident pits Doherty and his allies against one such group.
The Fairfax Incident begins much like any other pulp detective novel, but it quickly metamorphosizes into something more. While it can’t strictly be considered a spy novel, espionage plays a major role in The Fairfax Incident and is likely to play a larger role in the novels that follow. (The end of The Fairfax Incident makes further novels extremely likely) As in many pulp detective novels, there is a hefty dose of action- chases, gunfights, etc. But there is also a strong human element. Charlie Doherty is tough but he is also compassionate as well as loyal. Terrence McCauley does an excellent job depicting the time period and balancing the human and action elements. My only complaint is that the main villains of the piece were two dimensional. They were stereotypes rather than characters and some of their actions had little motive other than to further the plot. There are holes in the plot, but they aren’t visible as long as you focus on the action and don’t think too much.
Charlie Doherty was kicked off the force in the aftermath of the Grand Central Massacre, but he’s fallen on his feet - working as a private detective for wealthy Manhattanites. Mrs. Fairfax is convinced that her husband was murdered, despite evidence that he shot himself. Charlie’s benefactor wants him to take the case,so he reluctantly agrees to look into matters. It swiftly becomes clear that Walter Fairfax’s life was anything but simple. Not only was he enamoured with a beautiful but penniless aristocrat, but he had become closely tied to her friends and their cause - friends who do not wish the nature of their connection to Fairfax known. The more Charlie digs into what made Fairfax pull the trigger, the more people try to kill him...and the more he realizes that Fairfax’s death is only the beginning.
The Fairfax Incident is an exciting novel that will appeal to a broad audience. McCauley’s novel isn’t perfect, but it shows potential. While The Fairfax Incident is a stand alone, the novel prepares readers for an ongoing series.
4 / 5
I received a copy of The Fairfax Incident from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Manhattan, 1933. Charlie Doherty may have been kicked off the force after The Grand Central Massacre, but thanks to a wealthy benefactor, his private detective business is booming. Catering to the city’s wealthy elite, Doherty is making a good living chasing down wayward spouses and runaway socialites when the case of a lifetime lands in his lap. Mrs. Fairfax, a wealthy widow, hires Doherty to prove her husband’s suicide wasn’t actually a suicide. It was murder. At his benefactor's urging, Doherty takes the case. He expects to pocket a nice chunk of change to prove what everyone already knows: Walter Fairfax walked into his office in the Empire State Building one morning, took a phone call, and shot himself. But Charlie took the widow's money, so he begins to dig. He quickly finds out there is more to the Fairfax incident than a simple suicide. Before long, he discovers that Mr. Fairfax was leading a double life; running with a dangerous crowd that has a sinisteragenda that threatens to plunge Charlie’s city – and his country – into another war. In an investigation that quickly involves global implications, Doherty finds himself against not only some of the most powerful people in New York City, but against the most evil men in the world.