From the back of the book:
After years of chasing fame and hedonistic excess in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Rusty "The Raven" Diamond has returned home to Ocean City to piece his life back together. When he finds himself an innocent suspect in his landlord's brutal murder, Rusty abandons all hope of maintaining a tranquil existence. Acting on impulse, he digs into the investigation just enough to anger both the police and a local drug cartel.
As the unsolved case grows more complex, claiming new victims and inciting widespread panic, Rusty feels galvanized by the adrenaline he's been missing for too long. But his newfound excitement threatens to become an addiction, leading him headfirst into an underworld he's been desperately trying to escape.
MISDIRECTION is the first book in the Rusty Diamond Trilogy and quickly establishes the unique protagonist as a budding gumshoe to be reckoned with. While not a licenced PI in any traditional sense, Rusty's methods of deduction and colourful tools of the trade make for one interesting ride on the wings of 'The Raven' as he seeks vengeance for the horrific murder of his elderly landlord.
I love books that set the tone early in the piece and MISDIRECTION does just that. Opening with a violently confronting scene; the whodunit aspect aligned with the protagonist's motive for justice thrusts the reader into the criminal underworld of Ocean City.
I was hooked from the opening line:
"The bloodstain was shaped like Florida."
Right off the bat, the reader knows they're in for noir-ish tale with all the blood red trappings.
Rusty is such an interesting character, complimented by a supporting cast that I hope gets more of a look-in in the next book (Biddison - local cop, Carmen - grad student in inorganic chemistry etc.) that the plot almost paled compared to the character. Not a criticism by any means as the pacing and plot threads converged at logical intervals with realistic and entertaining outcomes.
Despite being the first book in a planned trilogy, author Austin Williams does a great job at writing a self contained story that allows for easy expansion on the continuity of Rusty Diamond's ad-hoc profession; masquerading as a crime solving vigilante.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing where Williams takes 'The Raven' next.