Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Too Close to Home

Too Close to Home by Andrew Grant
Penguin Random House: 1/7/20
hardcover: 336 pages
Paul McGrath #2 

Too Close to Home by Andrew Grant is a highly recommended investigative novel of suspense. This is the second book in the Paul McGrath series, but can be read as a stand-alone novel.

Paul McGrath is a former intelligence agent who is currently working as a courthouse janitor. He is doing this, working undercover, in order to find who took a file that had missing evidence about Alex Pardew.  Pardew is the man who defrauded and likely murdered McGrath’s father but he avoided conviction because the file was missing. McGrath discovers one person who had their hands on the file, but he needs to dig deeper and find out why and who else is involved.

While running his secret investigation in the courthouse, he encounters Len Hendrie, a man who is charged with arson. Hendrie admits he is guilty, but he did it because a venture capitalist he shared some inside information with, took the information and ruined Hendrie in a short-selling scheme. Hendrie wants to defend himself in court so he can tell the world why he burned down the one home owned by the man. McGrath decides to help Hendrie and investigate this too.

The complex plot moves quickly between the major plot thread and the minor plot involving Hendrie. There is a surprising twist at the end that I certainly didn't see coming. I haven't read the first novel, but felt that Too Close to Home can be read as a stand-alone novel. Grant provides enough background information to follow what happened in the first book and why he is looking into the file and the missing information. He also explains any information you need to understand the short-selling scheme in the subplot.

It's a smart move having McGrath work as a janitor. Much like any other person in retail or a service job wearing a uniform, they all certainly are an invisible person to many or looked down on as less intelligent. It's also nice to have McGrath like his job as cleaning is relaxing and helps him think. He's an interesting character, taciturn, but friendly to people to elicit information in a less than obvious way. He's helped by his friend Robson, who lives with him, and a few other contacts he has made over the years. I could see having McGrath pick up more cases in the future through his janitorial job.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House via Library Thing.

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