Something evil is lurking in the streets of Port Essex. A missing girl. Violent attacks. It is up to Private Investigator Clay Wolfe, his partner Baylee Baker, and a colorful assortment of friends to get to the bottom of these odious occurrences before it is too late. Mind Trap is a thrilling ride set in a small Maine town with rich characters and shocking plot twists that will keep the reader rapt within the pages.
Clay and company are having a hard time with their new case. They need to find a man’s missing daughter. (And, by extension, her mother.) There are also vigilantes going after minorities which they are targeting for ethnicity, religion, and sexual preference. It will take all kinds of help (some from unexpected sources) to find the truth. This book is timely and thought-provoking. Maybe we should think about what the author has to say. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Mind Trap is the second installment in veteran author Matt Cost’s ClayWolfe/Port Essex Mystery series (though each can be read as a standalone). You might also know Cost’s other works, the Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery series. The author clearly has found a niche in the light mystery/thriller genre, and after reading two of his books I can say the writing reflects that fact. (I reviewed the first book in the series, Wolfe Trap, earlier this year). This book is extremely character-driven. Starting with Clay Wolfe, the MC, who owns a private investigation company and has a bit of a hero complex; his partner in crime, Baylee, who has deep personal issues of her own and is now part-owner of the company; Crystal, their foul-mouthed assistant with an attitude; Marie, Clay’s close friend and local journalist; and Clay’s best friend and ex-special forces soldier, Westy. Cost clearly put a lot of deliberate work into giving each character a very distinct personality and history. A crew like this feels very standard for this type of story: the wannabe hero running at the danger when everyone else is running away, the person who is hiding from their past, the assistant who does not care what you think, the reporter always digging for information, and the ex-military officer who has all the guns and is hankering for a fight. The characters were all interesting and brought a different view to the story, which is something I really enjoyed about the book. The plot is pretty typical mystery/thriller. A man hires Clay to investigate his missing daughter, and, of course, nothing is as it seems. There are lots of moving parts, and a cult culture is discovered. There are a few twists (nothing over the top), but I do have to say certain parts of the narrative did keep me guessing most of the book. I definitely enjoyed Cost’s writing style, which I found to be both similar and different to the first book. With Wolfe Trap I got big noir vibes: back-alley encounters, smokey bar meetings, after hours action. Mind Trap, however, feels much more cozy, East Coast mystery. I would not go so far to say that it is a straight up cozy mystery, but the charms of the sub-genre really come through. Also, I always have to compliment an author when I can tell they know how to write. Cost sets the scene really well in the first few chapters of the book – describing the setting, detailing the characters, lining up plot lines – with the ease of a professional. It never feels like an info dump, but it gives the reader all the information needed to continue in the story and is intriguing enough to draw their interest. Mind Trap a nice book to read. It is a thriller mystery that is full of genre tropes. I do not say that with a negative connotation, because I have learned that with these types of books I find a lot of comfort in that. There is something satisfactory in knowing exactly what I am getting into in reading a book, especially after reading so much epic fantasy during the course of my reading year. Mind Trap is what they are not: a light, fun, interesting read. If you are looking for a book like that to supplement your colossal TBR, a break from the grandiose, I definitely recommend checking out Mind Trap.
The gang is back – the second in the series featuring Clay Wolfe, Professional Investigator (because that happens to be what they call it in Maine); his partner, the beautiful and extremely capable Baylee; retired octogenarian and solicitor Gene, who also happens to be Clay’s Grandpops; and a posse of hard-drinking, colorful, and willingly-endangered friends and collaborators. The case this time centers on the most evil of institutions – a white supremacist group so tightly wound with nonsensical quasi-religious dogma, blind devotion and enforced mind-control that it can only be described as a cult. As Clay and his team search for a missing woman and her daughter, bodies begin to pile up and the insidious horror of the truly close-minded – now organized, manic, and heavily armed – suddenly looms against the backdrop of the once peaceful coastal town of Port Essex. As in his previous work, the author manages to interweave chilling and escalating plot details, unexpected twists, violent deaths and near-deaths, constant suspense and taut action scenes with the wonderful camaraderie and further development of the characters comprising the Wolfe team (Wolfe pack?). Thoroughly recommended for anyone who enjoys great detective fiction, I devoured this book in one sitting, and am looking forward to the next installment. A great big thank you to the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
Mind Trap is the second book in this series about Clay Wolfe and Baylee Baker, partners in a PI firm in Port Essex, Maine. Although interesting, this plot was a bit unbelievable in this age of 24 hours news and social media. However, I really enjoyed the characters and look forward to the next book – Mouse Trap. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.