There’s something about Boston P.I.s. They’re so ethical. When they make a promise, they keep it, whether it be Parker’s Spenser, Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie or Healy’s John Cuddy. In Rescue, Cuddy is on Route 93 heading home when he sees a young girl (Melinda) and younger boy (Eddie) by the side of the road, their car with a flat tire. He pulls over and changes the tire.
Melinda and Eddie go off to the woods by the road side for a bit and a man in a blue pickup truck stops to see whether he can help. However, he seems more interested in the car and its occupants than helping. Having already finished changing the tire, Cuddy declines the offer and the man speeds on his way.
The next day, when Melinda’s body is found washed up on a river bank in Boston with her car nearby, Cuddy has his suspicions. Eddie, however, is nowhere to be found. Cuddy must honor his promise to Eddie, who asked “If I ever get lost or anything, would you come help me?” It reminds Cuddy, a Vietnam vet, of an unkept promise he made to one of his fellow soldiers three decades earlier.
Cuddy’s search takes him from the woods of New Hampshire to the Florida Keys and involves an evangelist, Royel Wyeth and his Church of the Lord Vigilant. It seems that Royel is ‘studying’ the Mark of Cain, a birthmark that makes Eddie a good subject.
While I enjoyed Rescue, I did have to suspend belief as I neared the end of the book. Actually, any mystery I read that has an evangelical bent to it forces me to suspend belief. Maybe that’s just me.
However, I really like John Cuddy as a character and Healy as a writer. There’s enough rough stuff, but it’s not overdone. There’s also the ‘typical girl comes on to P.I.’ stuff, but also not overdone. While Cuddy may not be as smart-mouthed as Spenser, he’s no dope and is not easily intimidated.
Rescue is the ninth book in the Cuddy series. I had probably read all the books in the series previously, but since Healy committed suicide earlier this year, I’ve re-read two of the books, the other one being the first in the series, Blunt Darts. If you’re looking for a good, entertaining mystery read, you really can’t go wrong with a Jeremiah Healy/John Cuddy mystery.