“Cape Greed” by Sam Cole

Genre: Mystery

Rating:  3.5 WaterTowers (imperfect, colorful, tough, smart characters)

“Cape Greed” is an ARC sent to me by Mike Nicol.  It was released to stores last month…yeah, I’m behind…arrrgghh.  🙂

As “Cape Greed” opens, Vincent Saldana is a Cape Town cop in the abalone anti-poaching unit.  Abalone (aka Perlemon in South Africa) is a shellfish that is highly prized, especially in Asia, as an aphrodisiac.

Jeffery “Mullet” Mendes is also a cop with a new “bird” (this is funny…after some confusion, I came to learn that “bird” is girlfriend, not a bird) and wants to cook Rae-Anne an abalone steak for dinner.  Unfortunately, he can’t find an abalone anywhere…they are all being shipped (for a premium price) to Asia.   His last hope is Vincent who, luckily that day, had just arrested some poachers (Tommy Fortune and his friends) and taken their haul of abalone.

Fast forward several months.

A call comes in to the newly opened Mendes & Saldana Private Investigator firm.  Marina Welsh has heard that Vincent was in the abalone anti-poaching unit and she needs his help.   After she hung up another call comes in from Judith Oxford who believes her husband Roger is cheating on her.

Business is picking up for Mendes & Saldana!!

Unfortunately, Vincent has been drunk nearly every hour since his wife died leaving Mullet to mind the business.  But, Mullet has his own issues.  He  spends much of his free time delivering drugs and smoking dope to Johnny Cash.

Imperfect cops, imperfect PI’s.

The two phone calls set Vincent and Mullet off on separate investigations.

Vincent sobers up for awhile traveling up the coast to investigate (and hopefully ID) thieves who had robbed an abalone farm (Marina Welsh’s) of many precious abalone, while Mullet follows Roger trying to catch him in the act of cheating on Judith.

Knowing that another robbery attempt is going to happen, Vincent and Marina plan to watch the next robbery, follow the robbers, then give that information to the police. When it happens, Vincent recognizes the poacher…his old nemesis, Tommy Fortune.

Mullet finds out that Roger is meeting with a young Asian woman, but, only for dinner and conversation.  Judith is not impressed and insists that Mullet gets her name and then catches Roger in a compromising act.

In the meantime, the police are asking Mullet (he has experience in serial murders) for his insight into a string of gruesome murders of street kids.  The headless bodies have been found buried in sand dunes on the beach….they had been killed with a crossbow.

As “Cape Greed” rockets along, the two investigations merge.  Roger works for Marina’s partner in the farm (James Woo), Judith and Roger are working an angle on Woo, and Woo is working an angle on Dragon Fire and the Brotherhood.

“Oath Ten:  I shall never embezzle cash or property from my sworn brothers.  If I break this oath I will be killed by a myriad of swords.”

Gruesome deaths await several of the characters as “Cape Greed” catapults toward a breathtaking ending.  Who lives?  Who dies?  You will have to read “Cape Greed” to find out….

Needless to say I loved the characters in this book!  Mullet and Vincent (and the beautiful, peg -legged, ex-drug addict Rae-Anne) are wonderfully colorful and far from perfect.  Real life meets fiction.  I also learned a bit about South African lingo.  Luckily Joleen, a member of the Tracy Virtual Office, is from Zimbabwe so I learned what a “bird” was, “china”, “stoep”, etc.  Cool.

Sam Cole is a pseudonym for co-writers Mike Nicol and Joanne Hichens.  I am definitely looking forward to their next book, and highly recommend you pick up “Cape Greed”.

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