What Meets the Eye by Alex Kenna

My goodness, what a read! If you like modern mysteries, seedy underbellies, art weirdies, or flawed people trying to do the right thing in an ambiguous world, this is yer book! Or audiobook! Or papyrus – however you enjoy books, try this one.

Alex Kenna went to art school and law school and was a prosecutor; therefore, she is the perfect person to write a mystery set in the L.A. art world about an ex-cop trying to navigate the legal system.

Kate Myles was a cop in the L.A.P.D., but a debilitating car wreck took that away. It took a lot more than that away. Myles got addicted to pills, divorced with limited custody of her daughter, and now faces little economic opportunity after she hung out her own shingle as a private eye. She takes on the usual kind of work to pay the bills (cheating spouses), which doesn’t help her get more time with her daughter. So, when the grieving father or a dead artist who allegedly committed suicide comes into her office, she has to take the case, even if she feels bad about taking the money of a grieving man.

The case of the dead artist sucks Myles deeper into L.A.’s underbelly while also putting her in the company of the city’s elite. With her law enforcement skills and her few tenuous ties to some old peers on the force, she’s determined to follow through with the case, even if it leads to her own destruction.

I can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed this book and narrator Caitlin Cavannaugh’s reading. Because of writer Alex Kenna’s background, she makes both the art world and the law enforcement world feel very alive – full of egos, talent, injustices, and gray. The mystery itself surprised me in a very noir way. I saw the ending going two ways, and it did not hit either of those. My understanding is that Kenna is hoping to write a sequel. I’ll be reading!

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