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Last Redemption: A Rick Cahill Novel


Last Redemption: A Rick Cahill Novel

Shot in the face and temporarily blinded (in 2020’s BLIND VIGIL), years as a Golden Gloves boxer, and multiple concussions by thug-beatings about the head have left Raymond Chandler’s contemporary Philip Marlowe-reincarnate Rick Cahill with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and debilitating fugues. And possibly a future of dementia and early death. Could things get any worse?

Yes, but Rick rises from despair. Like the mythological phoenix, he’s flying high. The San Diego PI is engaged to Leah Landingham (introduced in 2019’s LOST TOMORROWS), and they’re expecting a child. Vision issues led him to computerized investigations for corporations, saving a venture capitalist millions of dollars. He now has wealthy clients and a reputation for ferreting dubious start-up companies seeking financial backing. Rick earns enough to provide for his family, even after he’s gone. Things couldn’t get any better.

"LAST REDEMPTION catapults Rick Cahill into the Private Eye Hall of Fame and deserves more stars than has the Hollywood Walk of Fame."

Still, Rick misses traditional detective work. He welcomes the opportunity to surveil fellow PI Moira MacFarlane’s son, Luke, a computer wizard at age 24. “Moira was my best friend, but we didn’t exactly socialize…our strange relationship bound by hardship.” Rick witnesses Luke violate a restraining order regarding former gal-pal Gabriela and tails him to his employer’s office at night. The next day, Rick learns that the CEO had been murdered and Luke is on the lam. “Luke MacFarlane was a fuse waiting to be lit.”

What seems to be a simple assignment leads Rick into a quagmire of the uber-wealthy, who can make people disappear --- including Rick. One duplicitous character has ties to a member of Congress. Another aspect involves cancer research that may detect future probability of the disease, by a company on the verge of being acquired by Big Pharma.

As an investigator, Rick succeeds by gathering tidbits of seemingly unrelated information, the way that past gumshoes prevailed. “All I had was a jumble of jigsaw pieces without a box to show the big picture.” (Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone had a stack of index cards.)

Noir crime fans will celebrate Rick’s triumph over thugs in this contemporary hard-boiled PI masterpiece. LAST REDEMPTION catapults Rick Cahill into the Private Eye Hall of Fame and deserves more stars than has the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The question begs: Which actor would portray Rick in a film adaptation of Coyle’s award-winning series?

Comparison to Raymond Chandler goes beyond Rick Cahill sharing initials. Matt Coyle earned the Anthony Award for Best First Novel (YESTERDAY’S ECHO) and a score of other literary awards for his intense Cahill crime novels. Citing the late, great H. Terrell Griffin in 2015’s CHASING JUSTICE, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” Although each book of the series can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, readers new to Coyle’s craft should consider a chronological read to understand each character’s motivation.

» Click here to read our interview with Matt Coyle.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on December 3, 2021

Last Redemption: A Rick Cahill Novel
by Matt Coyle