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Blind Vigil: A Rick Cahill Novel


Blind Vigil: A Rick Cahill Novel

For years, San Diego sleuth Rick Cahill carried more baggage than a major airline. The porterage lightened in BLOOD TRUTH when he vindicated his dad’s reputation as a corrupt cop. However, the greatest weight eased in 2019’s Shamus- and Lefty Award-winning LOST TOMORROWS: While investigating the suspicious death of Santa Barbara cop friend Krista Landingham, Rick learns who murdered his wife 14 years before and is shot in the face by the perp. Bullet fragments caused optic chiasm inflammation, leaving him bat-blind: “The only time I saw clearly was in my dreams.”

Nine months later, battle-scarred and unemployed, Rick is back in San Diego, his white-cane metronome tapping while counting steps on neighborhood walks with his black Lab, Midnight. Lately, he notices “not really light, but something less than dark.” His vision marginally returns, but he “wanted to maintain the façade of total blindness.”

"Raymond Chandler-reincarnate Matt Coyle has set the private investigator bar at skyscraper height."

Gravelly voiced PI pal Moira MacFarlane engages him to co-investigate Shay Sommers, the girlfriend of Rick’s estranged chum, Turk Muldoon. (A blind private-eye plot is plausible only by master craftsman Matt Coyle!) While Moira tails Shay to a swanky hotel, Rick’s enhanced olfactory receptors detect a unique blend of musk and Dove deodorant --- for the third time in one day. Someone is following him, the “Invisible Man.”

The PI gig pulls the duo into a homicide investigation, Detective Denton eager to tighten torturous thumbscrews. La Jolla police have a prime suspect in the crosshairs and want info from Moira and Rick: “Presumed innocent was a nice theory but it flew in the face of human nature.” While the suspect languishes in prison, they follow circuitous leads to Shay’s past, in Idaho.

Rick’s homespun philosophies clarify, as his vision dims. He mulls that Moira makes similar judgment-call mistakes as he had, that “she’d already begun her descent into the dark hole of self-recrimination. It was a lonely, 24/7 existence and took a long ladder to climb out.”

A host of characters manipulates him, as though countless marionette strings of capricious puppeteers control the impaired PI. A surprising and credible conclusion awaits those familiar with Rick’s laser-focus pursuit of justice. BLIND VIGIL has an astounding “Matt” finish.

Rick Cahill has become a friend, each installment a long-overdue update. Although any entry in the series can be a stand-alone, a comprehensive introduction to the tectonic forces that forged his character is detailed in Coyle’s Anthony Award-winning debut, YESTERDAY’S ECHO.

Raymond Chandler-reincarnate Matt Coyle has set the private investigator bar at skyscraper height. There is no need to lumbar-strain Limbo under his standard, but authors who strive to traverse his calibre need a hot air balloon.


» Click here to read’s exclusive interview with Matt Coyle.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on December 4, 2020

Blind Vigil: A Rick Cahill Novel
by Matt Coyle