The Last Call, book one in the Bill Travis Mystery series is an interesting take on the classic hardboiled detective action tale. Author George Wier has created a cast of characters who immediately draw you in, and from page one you care about their problems.
The hero, investment-advisor Bill Travis, is having a mid-life crisis. We never really find out exactly what area of investment consulting Bill works in, other than it is for extremely sensitive clients who need help with investing large amounts of cash and property just short of money laundering; keeping good people out of bad trouble. In the course of his work he's made many friends, a lot of of whom owe Bill some rather large favors.
On the day this tale begins, we find Bill in in traffic on his way to the office. As he is negotiating the rush-hour traffic, he finds himself playing tag with an attractive blonde. She wins. cutting him off and making a fine start to his Monday.
Lo and behold, his first appointment of the day is the blonde from the traffic-jam; her name is Julie Simmons and she is in trouble. She has crossed a bad man, a north-Texas liquor baron, named Archie Carpin and has taken a VERY large sum of money from him and hidden it. She turns to Bill for help; he tells her he doesn't deal with stolen money. Still, he finds himself involved both physically and emotionally and the next thing he knows, he is trying to help her get her mess straightened out.
Bill turns to Hank, an old client and a friend who has a passing love of explosives. Hank has a friend, Dock (with a k) who also gets involved. Somehow, Julie forgets to mention that two of Carpin's henchmen, Lefty and Carl are following them until they are outside Dock's house. After the shooting is over and Lefty and Carl have been driven off, the three men find themselves hiding Julie. During the course of their adventures they rescue an 8 year old girl, Keesha and find her a good home.
The action is non-stop, keeping you turning the pages to see what is going to happen next. Several times the truth is both revealed and hidden in the nightmares Bill suffers from. Not everyone survives the action in this thriller. When one of the characters died, I found tears in my eyes. Julie is a cypher - you don't really know what to make of her until the end. Nothing is predictable, and yet nothing is random. The plot makes complete and perfect sense, and the story, as it unfolds, is a piece of Texas history, with a certain amount of license taken in regard to the truth.
I will definitely be reading the next book in the Bill Travis Series, Capitol Offense. George Wier is the author of 14 books and has several more currently in the works. With The Last Call as my introduction to his work, he has become one of my favorite authors!