My first thought after reading L. H. Thomson’s Quinn Checks In was I hope he doesn’t check out. This is the first in a promised series, and I’m looking forward to the next one. The Quinn of the title is Liam, a guy whose talent for copying paintings by other artists landed him in prison for art forgery. Naturally, I liked him instantly since the protagonist in my books is also a forger, but of ancient pottery rather than modern art.
The similarity ends there. Liam is a boxer, a talent that is of more use to him in his new career as an insurance investigator than it was when he was copying canvasses. He’s a freelancer, paid on commission based on how much he saves the company, so he’s happy to draw the assignment of looking into the theft of a Vermeer insured for ten million. The assignment looks even better when he meets the museum’s director, the stunning Alison Pace, but not so good when he encounters the shady owner of the building next to the museum.
Liam Quinn is an engaging character, witty, brash and self-deprecating at the same time, a younger hipper Spenser. Well, they’re both Irish, at least part, but Liam lives in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philly, an area which he quips, “is about as glamorous as the name sounds.” He’s embarrassed that he let his family down by going to prison, and he’s on the path to redemption. So who can begrudge him a little fun as he travels that path?
A solid story, witty dialog, fist fights, beautiful women, art, stolen beer kegs, a mob connection and a surprise ending. What could be better? Well, it could be available in paper. I’m not of fan of reading on screen, but for Liam Quinn, I’ll make an exception. This is a terrific mystery with just the right balance of plot, wit, action and backstory.