3.5 starsI got this as a free Kindle book, and I'm always a bit wary of free Kindle books. 60% of the time, you get what you pay for. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't read the book before (esp. since it's over $12), so I just jumped into this one.I like Jack McCall. He's not 20s or even 30s. He's late 40s. He's lived. He's been in Special Ops, Black Ops - you name it. He's done it all. He's savvy, connected, smart, and tough. He's hurting - he lost his wife, Rachel, just 4 months ago. They were still newlyweds, married less than a year.I like Nora, his partner at McCall Investigations (MI). She's smart, savvy, sexy, connected - she's almost a female Jack, albeit a bit younger. She knows how to dress and be a girl. She knows how to flirt, and she knows how to go after what she wants. And while they only have one hook-up in this book, I suspect Nora wants Jack - for good, and that she always has, even before Rachel. I like Max, their part-time muscle and grunt. He's an older, retired ex-cop with lots of moxy and lots of grit. He's tough, too - he knows how to take down a 20-something skinhead biker who's holding a switchblade on him AND has a gun, when Max has no weapons at all.Blackmail is always dark, seedy, and messy. And the Blackmailer is someone very connected. McCall gets involved because a good friend of his, Chris, is dead. The official police report ruled the death a suicide, even though there wasn't a note. But Chris's wife, Sarah, asks Jack to get to the bottom of it - to make his murderer pay. Because if Chris pulled the trigger because he was being blackmailed, the Blackmailer as good as murdered him.Chris was a psychiatrist. I'm not sure how he and Jack became friends (did Jack seek out his council?), but presumably that's in the first book. Regardless, Chris works side-by-side with another psychiatrist; Chris' specialty is sexual problems - his cohort's is kleptomania. They believe there's a connection.Jack also knows that Chris was seeing his cohort professionally. Why? The cohort won't say, so Jack ventures a guess: Chris was bi-sexual, having an affair with a man, and wanted to be "cured". Good guess, Jack. Jack's wife, Sarah, is as prim and proper as they come; she seems too good to be true. Sarah admits to Nora that she and Chris had separate bedrooms before Chris died, because they hadn't had "relations" in some time.Chris' son, Donny, is a sleeze-ball. He's a late 30s spoiled brat, small time wannabe gangster. He owns a strip joint, runs a prostitution ring and a gambling ring under the counter, and generally, is bad news. Donny's mistake is in having Jack beat up to try to scare him off the case. See, Donny knows that his father was having a gay relationship and he knows who it was with - he's got the picture proof, as sick as it makes him. And for as much of a scumbag as Donny is, he doesn't want his old man's name (or his family name) to be dragged through the mud over a gay relationship.And that's not even the blackmailing part! See, the blackmailer is getting secrets from patients of 3 psychiatrists, including Chris' patients and his cohorts' patients. In fact, Sarah's certain that Chris was being blackmailed, because he had a special account with half-a-million in it that's now gone. Jack wonders if Chris took his own life after realizing that 1. his gay relationship was exposed, 2. his patients are being blackmailed, and 3. his son Donny is in it all up to his neck. But Donny's not smart enough to be the Blackmailer.So who is? And can Jack and Nora catch him before he gets away with multiple murders? Or gets something on one of them?-------------------Gritty, tough, good. It's not for the faint of heart - it's a modern detective story set in our nation's capital, and it doesn't pull punches.No new Jack McCall mysteries available. Hope that the author chooses to write another!