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Miami Midnight: A Pete Fernandez Mystery

Review

Miami Midnight: A Pete Fernandez Mystery

I can pretty much sum up MIAMI MIDNIGHT by saying that if you were to look up the term “hard-boiled” in the dictionary, you would find the title as the definition. This has been touted as the fifth and final book in the Pete Fernandez series, and Alex Segura, who does nothing by halves, closes out his account of his oft-injured (sometimes self-inflicted, sometimes by friendly fire) and much-maligned private detective with a bang.

My gold standard for novels these days is awarded only to those that consistently surprise in the sense that they leave me unable to predict what will happen next. Segura and MIAMI MIDNIGHT do this consistently from beginning to end. The major surprise is that Pete is back at all following the events of BLACKOUT. But back he is, sober, living quietly and, in his words, out of the game, largely eschewing his PI business in favor of running a used bookstore. He also is dealing with his feelings for Kathy Bentley, his professional partner in his investigation agency with whom he has had a tumultuous and star-crossed personal relationship. The latter seems to be coming to an end, due to Kathy’s engagement to someone else.

"MIAMI MIDNIGHT is so dark and gritty that the only proper way to read it is with a spotlight and a breathing filter. It’s worth it."

Still, things in Pete’s life are on a relatively even keel until two events occur. The first is that Pete is contacted by Osvaldo Valdez, who worked with Pete’s father in the Miami Police Department’s homicide division. Valdez indicates that he has information about Pete’s mother. Pete had always been told by his father that his mother died while giving birth to him, but Valdez indicates that nothing could be further from the truth. However, Valdez is murdered before he can give Pete any information, a set of circumstances that results in Pete digging into his own past to uncover why his father apparently lied to him.

The second event is that Pete reluctantly accepts Don Alvaro Mujica as a client. Mujica is an extremely powerful and influential figure in Miami and is rumored to be at or near the top of the hierarchy in the city’s underworld. Mujica’s son, a troubled but up-and-coming jazz musician, has been murdered recently. Not only does he want the crime solved, he also wants Pete to find his son’s wife. The two had only been married for a short time, and Mujica is determined to locate the woman because he believes that she has in her possession an extremely valuable painting that belongs to him. Pete begins investigating both the personal and professional cases, and quickly discovers that everyone, friend and foe alike, is lying to him for the best and worst of reasons.

Pete also is reminded, once again, that Miami is one big small town, where the past and present don’t just intersect but also merge. It isn’t long before everyone around Pete --- literally --- is picked off, one by one, in ways both violent and explosive. It seems at times that the book will reach its conclusion without all of the mysteries being solved. Actually, that occurs, though not in the way one might think. You’ll have to read it to find out exactly what happens, but you won’t be sorry.

MIAMI MIDNIGHT is so dark and gritty that the only proper way to read it is with a spotlight and a breathing filter. It’s worth it. If you’re searching for a book with which to spend the closing days of summer, you need to look no further.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on August 16, 2019

Miami Midnight: A Pete Fernandez Mystery
by Alex Segura

  • Publication Date: August 13, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Polis Books
  • ISBN-10: 1947993593
  • ISBN-13: 9781947993594