While reading Reckless Discernment, I immediately thought of Humphrey Bogart dressed in a fedora and trench coat, ready to solve a mystery. Sullivan's writing reflects the film noir of days gone by. This story was a refreshing reminder of how great a classic mystery can be with a modern tone.
Andrew and Elizabeth are the two main characters that join forces to sleuth their way into unraveling a twisted plot. As each layer of the mystery unfolds, the truth seems more and more unbelievable. The pair of amateur detectives share great chemistry. I really enjoyed their back and forth banter while they hunted for information and clues. The passage below is one of the many exchanges between Andrew, the narrator, and his sidekick Elizabeth:
"Every time we find out anything new about this woman you want to switch careers,” I said.
“I know. I wonder how you break into the sausage-importing game. I bet there's a for-dummies book on it.”
Elizabeth is the fun, adventurous type while Andrew is enthralled by facts and uncovering the truth. It's not a new dynamic, but Sullivan does a great job with the familiar routine. Some male authors have trouble writing female characters, however, Sullivan writes Elizabeth with ease. I was impressed with the author's ability to create such an authentic woman.
The witty writing sets this book apart from most mysteries. The humor helps the story seem less stale and engages the reader. I find the modern mystery genre to be dramatic or silly, but wit is rare to come by. Reckless Discernment takes you on a wild ride with a tongue-in-cheek chuckle along the way. I hope Sullivan is considering using the characters for a series because Andrew and Elizabeth are the stars of the show. Their relationship will keep readers coming back for more.