Mystery Monday: The Cardinal’s Sin by Robert Lane

I received a copy of this ebook free from NetGalley and Mason Alley Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

MysteryMondayMeme02A new author for me for my Mystery Monday, Robert Lane. The Cardinal’s Sin is his third novel featuring Jake Travis, a Special Ops agent, whose assignment here is to kill an assassin who has been targeting the loved ones of other agents.  Clearly, there is a leak in the agency, because not only are the agents known but someone has arranged for a substitute to be in the time and place where Jake’s target is supposed to be, and he’s dressed as a cardinal, something this particular assassin is known to use as a disguise from time to time.  The twist is that this really is a cardinal, Cardinal Giovanni Antinori, and Jake has “clipped the wrong bird”.

About half-way through this book, I realized there wasn’t really a lot of action and yet the plot was pulling me along at quite a clip.  Travis is narrating his story in short, pithy jargon reminiscent of Sam Spade.  He’s quite the philosopher and he takes things in stride — well, mostly.  Just as he’s about to pull the trigger near the Peter Pan statue in London’s Kensington Gardens, Jake thinks that, maybe, this is the wrong guy.  He hesitates just a second, then pulls the trigger anyway.

Death, when it arrives with no escape clause, brings out strange spirits in people, but I expected something harder in his soul.  His eyes were seeing the last of the world. Such eyes do not take in but allow everything out.  Even in the waning dark, I didn’t like the desperate pleading of his eyes . . . it didn’t seem right.

Travis has a girlfriend, Kathleen, works with a team, employs a couple of gutsy teenagers for surveillance work, and lives in Florida on the Gulf side.  The characters are rather quirky, and Jake’s lifestyle is pretty laid back all things considered:  he still has an assassin to kill who is probably hunting not only him, but Kathleen, he’s trying to track a lady, Renée, who has been seen with the real assassin, Paretsky, and might have a lead on his whereabouts, and he’s haunted by the eyes of Cardinal Antinori when he goes to sleep at night.

I didn’t find this a story with much violence despite the fact that killers are on the loose.  There are a couple of hand-to-hand fights, some gunshots, a fairly exciting boat chase across the Gulf, and a few deaths, but the narration and philosophy of our hero with his sometimes uneasy relationships and penchant for music from the 60s, were a lot of fun.  Kathleen had her share of witty repartee as well.

TheCardinal'sSinJake, talking about the humid air in Florida:  “there was little discernable difference between the outside and interior air. The legal profession calls it ‘difference without distinction’.”

About something he said that surprised him: “It came out like a bad line in a bad movie, the kind they used to only show after midnight. I knew that I was trying to convince myself.”

7790754Kathleen, when making up: “Blame rarely fits neatly on one set of shoulders.”

The story was full of surprises, sharp dialogue, and ended with redemption, and everything tied up in a neat package.  It was a great mystery read and I’ll definitely be looking at Lane’s other books. * * * *

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About mysm2000

Having taught elementary school for more than 25 years and been involved in many amazing technology and curriculum projects, I find I've developed a myriad of interests based on literature I've read and music I've heard. I've followed The Wright Three to Chicago, Ansel Adams to Colorado, The Kon Tiki Expedition to Easter Island, Simon & Garfunkel lyrics to New York City, Frank Lloyd Wright to Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, and have only just begun.
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