In the 15th installment of his Rushmore McKenzie novels, the hero— who has become an occasional unlicensed private investigator—tries to help his friend Erin get to the bottom of the mysterious harassment she's been experiencing at her growing food business.
There’s so much fun to be had in a David Housewright novel—especially when it stars McKenzie. The initial scene set is always so innocent and everyday; here, it’s a St. Paul salsa factory. Completely innocuous. But over the course of two hundred pages, Housewright veers into encounters with drug lords, mobsters, and life-or-death scenarios. And it all feels organic and natural. You never doubt how serious the stakes are. Few think 'Minnesota' when they hear the phrase 'neo-noir,' yet by the last chapter with McKenzie, you’re a believer ... Like to Die is satisfyingly twisty, meaty, and action-packed. Housewright takes just enough time to set his scenes—amps up the tension to just the right level—before bringing down the hammer. And, by the final page, all of the threads have been unknotted and tied into a gratifying bow.
As fans know from earlier installments, McKenzie rarely listens to his inner voice, but we get to. Readers are treated to his witty, self-conscious thoughts as he weighs the next dangerous step or tries to talk himself out of a bad move. He usually does it anyway. As is his signature, Housewright strikes a tone that is light on crime and grit but loaded with lighthearted exploits and peppered with Twin Cities references to keep us connected. A pleasure to read.
What I like foremost about Housewright's Rushmore McKenzie novels is the excellent characterization. The characters seem extremely three dimensional and lifelike as though they are based on living, breathing humans the author has encountered during his writing career. McKenzie is very likable; he is definitely protective of his friends ... Like to Die also has a lot of family drama ... 'How well do I know my friends?' It's a question that haunts PI Rushmore McKenzie throughout Like to Die, an extremely intriguing addition to the series.