The only complaint I have about “Vendetta: A Deadly Win: A Tina Munroe Mystery” by new author Nancy Niles, is the title.
I think it would read better as “Vendetta: A Tina Munroe Mystery,” much like Robert B. Parker’s “Painted Ladies: A Spenser Novel” or Lee Child’s “Killing Floor: A Reacher Novel.” It simply flows more smoothly from the tongue and is easier to read.
Other than that, I loved this novel and think the author is onto something big with her Tina Munroe (think Angelina Jolie) character. Niles is a Las Vegas resident, and she definitely brings the city alive in this P.I. genre novel.
The book opens with the kidnapping of a Laughlin casino owner’s wife. As the man goes to pay off the ransom at night, more takes place than he anticipated, especially since he’s mob connected and used to being feared. Several weeks down the road, a casino owner (Hutch) in Las Vegas discovers all the expensive clothes he owns have been destroyed in his home. He calls in Tina Munroe, who works for him on a part-time basis in his casino as an undercover security officer.
Tina is no sooner responding to her boss/friend’s call than she’s attacked while still on the casino floor. The perpetrator, however, manages to get away, but it isn’t long before Tina begins to put two and two together, coming up with the conclusion that the man who grabbed her is the same one who’s after Hutch.
Through a series of violent attacks and experiences, Tina eventually discovers the identity of the murderer while trying to figure out how to keep Hutch and herself alive. Along with that, she’s dealing with a brother who’s a homicide detective with the LVPD and looks down upon her work as a private investigator. There’s also the one-man detective agency that she sometimes works for. The owner of the agency has a cheating wife, and it’s only a matter of time until he discovers what’s going on behind his back and takes matters into his own hands. Tina doesn’t want to see him in jail for killing the wife and lover.
Though this is the first novel by Niles, she clearly knows the ropes of the P.I. fiction genre. In other words, she weaves a damn good mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. Niles also has a way with words that makes me jealous. She is simply great in her descriptions of the city and the other scenes in the novel. She definitely has a poet’s eye that’s mixed with the hard-boiled crime noir writing of Raymond Chandler and John D. MacDonald. I wish I could write as good as she does.
If you’re looking for a new author, then I suggest you give “Vendetta” a try. I see a long-running series in the future, featuring P.I. Tina Munroe. Boy, would it be great to see Angelina Jolie playing the part in a feature film. It would be a sizzling movie to say the least.
Wayne C. Rogers is the author of the horror novellas “The Encounter” and “The Tunnels,” both of which can be purchased at Amazon’s Kindle Store for 99 cents each.