From the Anthem City by Mike Romeo
Clint Ronson has been attracted to danger for as long as he can remember, savoring the thrill and adrenaline rush of gangster dramas and classic murder mysteries. After a career in the military and, later, college, Clint moves to Pittsburgh to be with his fiancée and enrolls in police academy. But things soon sour between the couple – quite unexpectedly, too, if you ask Clint – and he is set adrift once again. He decides to take his military and investigate skills and hire them out to people in need, which leads him to a curious case involving a lost pot of prize money from a football tournament that took place just after the start of the nineteenth century. Clint’s job is to track down the winning team and bestow them with their (now substantially appreciated) winnings, but he’s having trouble finding mention of the tournament’s final match in the city’s historical archives. What’s more, just hours after the tournament ended, a prominent media man was found shot in the head, though no one is clear on whether it was murder or suicide. Clint’s search for answers will take him door to door across the City of Bridges, and, soon, the PI will realize that this case extends much further than anyone thought.
From the Anthem City is – and this is odd to say about a police thriller – quite a charming novel. But Clint is so much different than your typical private investigator. Unlucky in love, empathetic, and shrewd, he’s a warmer man than we’ve seen featured lately in any mystery story. The effect is that readers will feel a strong attachment to Clint’s case, and ultimately to his life, which appears to be in greater danger the more Clint digs into Pittsburgh’s past. Paying homage to modern thrillers like The Da Vinci Code, author Mike Romeo works some cryptic clues into the story that imbue it with a sense of the occult. But perhaps the book’s biggest strength is its emphasis on sports, an area you don’t often see emphasized alongside mystery stories. Here, however, it works, resulting in a compellingly original thriller with an intriguing premise.
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