cover image Wild Card: A Buddy Steel Mystery

Wild Card: A Buddy Steel Mystery

Michael Brandman. Poisoned Pen, $26.99 (248p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1158-4

In bestseller Brandman’s fast and fun third Buddy Steele mystery (after 2018’s One on One), the California Coastal Commission has a job for Buddy, a deputy sheriff in Freedom, a “mostly upscale residential community, second home to a number of entertainment industry and Silicon Valley luminaries”—enforcing the state’s oceanfront access rules. A billionaire Russian oligarch is flagrantly violating the rules by closing the public access gates to his vast beach. The platoon of armed goons guarding the gates leads Buddy to believe that they may be protecting more than just a rich man’s privacy. Meanwhile, Buddy has to deal with a series of murders. As Buddy notes, “These killings represent a deadly combination of impeccable planning and ingenious execution. No pun intended.” Buddy shines as an investigator, tough guy, and observer of the human condition. Readers will look forward to his further adventures, especially now that Brandman has learned to avoid the repetition that slowed the lawman’s two previous outings. (May)