cover image The Tower of Songs

The Tower of Songs

Casey Barrett. Kensington, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0974-5

In Barrett’s suspenseful, if heavy-handed, third novel featuring former competitive swimmer turned unlicensed PI Duck Darley (after 2018’s Against Nature), streetwise 17-year-old Layla Soto asks Duck to locate her billionaire father, Danny Soto, whose abduction from their high-rise Manhattan apartment building was caught on surveillance cameras. Duck is ready to dive back into work after a six-week-long alcohol and coke–fueled bender, and the bag of cash that Layla offers is a big motivator, as is the prospect of partnering with his former dominatrix friend, Cass Kimball. Layla thinks that her dad’s mother, Eileen Chung, was involved, and the stakes are made crystal clear when Duck is poisoned and barely pulls through a weeklong coma to find himself hounded by aggressive federal agents. A surprise offer by Eileen changes the game. Duck narrates with a voice right out of classic hardboiled noir, complete with existential ruminations on his self-destructive nature. Though accessible to new readers, this outing will mostly appeal to series fans, particularly those who value the journey over the destination. Agent: Alec Shane, Writers House. (Sept.)