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THE MAYORS OF NEW YORK by S. J. Rozan: Book Review

When the only son of the mayor of New York City goes missing, one would expect there would be a major search for him, using radio, television, and newspaper coverage in addition to the police.  That’s not the case, however, when teenager Mark McCann is the one that private investigators Bill Smith and Lydia Chin are hired to find.

The mayor is in the midst of crucial negotiations with the city’s Detective Endowment Association, and she is concerned that calling the city’s police to find her son will make her look as if she’s a negligent single mother and thus weaken her position at the bargaining table and lessen her chances of being re-elected next year.

This is not the first time Mark has run away, Bill and Lydia learn, but it’s the first time he’s been gone overnight.  He wouldn’t go to his father’s condo, the mayor’s assistant tells Bill, because they don’t get along, and he wouldn’t confide in his twin sister Madison because they don’t get along either.  So with no one outside his home to turn to, where did he go?  And why?

Lydia Chin has just finished talking to the parents of another teenager, Amber Shun, who was found hanging in a Manhattan park.  The coroner ruled it was a suicide, but Mr. and Mrs. Shun don’t believe that their daughter, an A student and serious musician, would have killed herself.  Lydia tells the parents she doesn’t think there is anything she could do to prove their daughter’s death was murder, so she declines to take the case.  But it’s worrying her.

Neither Mark’s twin sister nor his father seem at all concerned about the disappearance.  It’s obvious that Madison is her father’s favorite child, and the two share a philosophy of winner take all and they’re the winners; all the others, including Mark, are losers and not too many tears need to be shed over them.  The more closely Bill and Lydia look into the case, the more they begin to fear that Mark’s disappearance may not be an instance of an unhappy teenager needing some time to himself but may be a case of someone running away from danger.

Bill and Lydia are determined to follow the scant clues there are, and those clues take them to neighborhoods in Chinatown, Times Square, and Staten Island.  Mark, however, always seems to be a step ahead of them, and his ability to evade capture would be viewed as clever if it were not so frustrating to the detectives.

As with every one of her previous mysteries, S. J. Rozan has written a compelling story that features two of the most engaging private investigators working today.  Bringing together their separate strengths and abilities, Smith and Chin are a formidable team.

S. J. Rozan’s work has won the Edgar, Shamus, Anthony, Nero, and Macavity awards for Best Novel and the Edgar for Best Short Story.  She’s also the recipient of the Japanese Maltese Falcon Award and recently received the Life Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.

You can read more about her at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

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