I started this series and reviewed the first book as a Holiday Pick in December. I was absolutely delighted by the voice of the main character, Eddie Lonnrot, and tickled pink my library had the other two in the series. He's a Black amateur sleuth with an eidetic memory, what we now call a super-recognizer, but can also sketch with precision, making him kinda like a phone taking video wherever he goes. It's what helped him solve the first case, that and being able to sift through all the information his brain's gathering to find the patterns in the people he's seen and places he's in.
In the second book, Eddie's in Mexico, and the book starts by hooking the reader with the fact that he and best friend Jonah are in prison. Eddie's wearing a Darth Vader costume and he's cut up and sore all over. He calls his mom, to tell her where he is, and while she's relieved he's alive, she's not happy about him being in prison. At all. It's not an en media res beginning, rather it starts at the conclusion, the denouement. And it's a great hooking technique, especially when Eddie ends up in a Darth Vader costume. How'd that happen, right?
Then the book switches to the start of the story, which is Eddie and Jonah leaving for vacation in San Pablo del Nino, Mexico. Eddie, Jonah and family goggle at a display of Mayan artifacts, including a solid gold mask. Within hours, Eddie and Jonah have made friends with a local girl their age, whose father is a retired investigator who worked a similar treasure theft years ago. This time, when the mask disappears, suspicion falls on Eddie's father. His fingerprints are found on the glass case, and there's video of them ogling the mask in the display.
To clear his dad's name, Eddie must figure out who really stole the mask -- but once he finds it, there's an even bigger treasure at stake, one that he, Jonah and their new friend will get in a heap of trouble to protect.
Eddie is convinced that the art thief from the first book, Lars Heinrich, is back. And is he, in a big way.
This one starts with "someone" sending bombs and threats against Eddie Red to the NYPD. It looks like the work of a prominent IRA bomber, but why the man has switched from Ireland to New York is a bit of a mystery. Until the crown jewels arrive in the city for an exhibition and… well, you know where this is headed, right?
The cops again recruit Eddie to work with them, although when Det. Bovano shows up as the science teacher at Eddie and Jonah's middle school, it starts to feel a lot more like he's under surveillance, maybe even witness-protection.
Eddie tries to play it cool, like he doesn't know Det. Bovano, but everyone figures out they know each other in a heartbeat. The question for them is, how? And why is teacher Bovano so focused on Eddie?
Eddie knows why, and so he gets to work figuring out Lars' real plot. He susses out Lars wants to steal the rest of the crown jewels, but … the question this time is, is that all Lars wants? Or is Lars carrying out a personal vendetta against Eddie, for foiling the earlier (book 1) art heist, as well?
Indeed, he is. Lars manipulates Eddie into working for him (I won't say how) and only with help from a most unlikely ally, who's being similarly manipulated, can Eddie crack the case and get a heads up to the NYPD of what's about to happen.
There are no more books in this series, which is a shame, as I really enjoyed the voice and a Black, super smart protagonist. Enjoy the read!