Book #78

The Road to Larkin St by Eddie Owens

The Private Eye: Caitlin “Red” Raeburn – ex-cop, mom, art lover and owner of the Raeburn Detective agency.

The Client: “I’ve been accused of sexual assault, but I didn’t do it, I swear.” The speaker was none other than Teddy Grant, burnt-out cop and now, it seemed, soon to be federal inmate.

The San Francisco 69ers: Red is assisted by her friends in the only LGBT motorcycle club in the world.

The Case: In a he said, she said allegation the problem is proof. However, when Red finds a witness, events suddenly spiral out of her control. Once again, Red and the Niners take on all-comers in a bid to unravel the mystery and save the day.

Owens gives us another rip roaring story in The Road to Larkin St. I first met Red in Transfer from Alcatraz, and I fell in love with her and the The San Francisco 69ers, an LGBT motorcycle club. I was delighted to see he’d written another in the series, and that I’d be able to read more of Red and her merry band of bloodthirsty yet kindhearted bikers.

This time, Red takes on a client charged with sexual assault. Adamant he’s innocent of any wrongdoing, he hires Red to prove the woman making the allegations is trying to set him up. It all seems very ‘her word against his’ for a time, until Red uncovers a whole load of timebombs in the form of gangsters and politicians, and the whole thing goes off.

Accusations of sexual assault, truthful or not, are difficult to discuss. I’m a strong believer in always accepting the victim’s account, but we still need to be mindful that false allegations are still made. To write a novel about a wrongful accusation, you have a duty to strike the right kind of balance, and I feel Owens has done well here with his tone and morality. It’s (sadly) quite refreshing to see a male crime novelist who isn’t employing sexist tropes, and I loved to see it.

Again, the pace is perfect for the plot. Despite about a thousand things happening at once, Owens inserts sections which allow us to take a breath and gather our thoughts, before dragging us back into the foray with him. As desperate as we are to resolve the overarching mystery of the allegations, we pick up other conundrums as we go along, all to be deliciously solved by the end.

I still love these characters, and I have warm feelings for them. I enjoyed some further exploration of Red’s relationship with her daughter, and some of the commentary on Emma’s autism was particularly uplifting, and perfect.

Another stellar story from Owens - I truly believe he has found his niche here in crime fiction, and especially the Red series; I can’t wait to read more of her escapades.