West Seattle Blues is the second outing for music journalist Laura Benton. Set several years after Emerald City, Laura is now married with a son who is almost walking and a husband in the book business. She still works, albeit not as much as she used to, writing reviews and doing occasional interviews. When the editor of The Rocket calls Laura and asks her to contact old country singer Carson Mack (great name), who thinks his life story would make a good book, Laura isn’t convinced.
She goes to see Carson and when he realises she’s the one who solved the murder of Craig Adler, he convinces her to help him find the son he has never known. Of course, this book coming from the pen of crime writer Chris Nickson, murder and intrigue soon come knocking at Laura’s door and she finds herself yet again pulled into the dangerous side of Seattle life.
I like Laura. She is a strong independent woman who is doing her best in her new role as wife and mother. She adores her son and works hard at being the best mother she can. Her life is very different from the way it was in her last outing and Nickson portrays her struggle with desiring part of her old life, and the guilt this causes her, well.
The author shows his love and experience of Seattle on every page. He never shoves his intimate knowledge down the reader’s throat, but uses it to lend a very real sense of place to the world the story inhabits.
I loved Carson Mack. I want to listen to his music, so well and believably has he been written. In fact, each character has been written with great attention to detail and as a reader, I couldn’t help but root for, or against, each one. The only exception to this is Laura’s husband, Dustin. He is well written, yes, but…I’m not convinced he is the man the Laura Benton I knew from Emerald City would have married. But perhaps it is the character’s conventionality that Laura was attracted to after the shocking events she experienced then.
Regardless, this is a well written crime novel from a writer in command of his craft, well paced, expertly plotted and peopled with characters I cared about. I can’t wait for the final book in the Emerald City trilogy.