The Painted Gun by Bradley Spinelli

The Painted Gun

Author: Bradley Spinelli
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Akashic Books
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Pages: 224

Publisher Website|Book Depository|Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: It’s 1997 at the dawn of the digital age in San Francisco. Ex-journalist and struggling alcoholic David “Itchy” Crane’s fledgling “information consultancy” business is getting slowly buried by bad luck, bad decisions, and the growing presence of the Internet. Before Itchy can completely self-destruct, a crooked private investigator offers him fifty grand to find a missing girl named Ashley. Crane takes the job because the money’s right and because the only clue to her disappearance is a dead-on oil portrait of Crane himself painted by the mysterious missing girl–whom he has never met.

As Crane’s search for Ashley rapidly becomes an obsession, he stumbles upon a series of murders, gets slapped around by thugs and intimidated by cops, and begins to suspect he’s being framed for the murders by a psychotic Guatemalan hit man. Left with no avenue but survival, Crane goes on the offensive, fighting to clear his name, solve the murders, and find the beguiling portrait artist Ashley, who may have a few surprises of her own.

Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟

REVIEW: Here’s a guy who has gone from job to job, sometimes due to a lack of caring, other times due to negligence from himself and those around him. David “Itchy” has had bad things constantly happen and he’s been wound up one too many times, leading him to be pessimistic about everything and everyone. Not leaving out that his constant tries at quitting smoking has led him to be even more on edge.

Then out of nowhere he receives a job, to find a girl named Ashley, no last name given, no detailed photo, nothing. Except a painting the family has sent to the company hired to find her, that looks exactly like Itchy himself, drawn by the missing girl. Not only has the photo caught his attention, but the date printed on the bottom makes him almost cough up what he had been drinking. The advance pay makes it that much more appealing and interestingly he becomes fascinated with the case right from the beginning.

If that wasn’t enough to keep him absolutely interested in the case, he comes to find out some things about her paintings and what seems like a supernatural add-on. Ashley telling her then lover that the man she was drawing was real and not a figment of her imagination. Along with her one day being brought together and saving each other from an early end.

The mystery deepens as the search turns out to be more than just a missing person’s case. It turns deadly all around him and more questions turn up rather than answers. Threats are made at all sides, and his life might be the last one to be taken out if he doesn’t find Ashley soon. There is a lot that needs to be solved and not enough time to do so. And one major twist that leaves everything you thought you knew about this scenario thrown out the window.

Even though I wasn’t finding the overly used foul language in this to be needed at all, or the fact that Ashley’s character didn’t have an added depth to her persona, when so much more could have been done with it, I still enjoyed this read. It kept me interested and wanting to know how she fit into all of this and what was really going on. And the other characters that show up in The Painted Gun kept me fascinated as well. It might not be a book I would re-read as there were several tidbits I didn’t quite enjoy, but I’m glad I did because even with that said it was still an intriguing read.

***I received this copy from Akashic Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***

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