The Hired Man by Dorien Grey

The Hired Man by Dorien Grey
A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #4
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Historical
Length: Full Length (195 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When private investigator Dick Hardesty is hired by businessman Stuart Anderson to conduct routine background checks on potential store managers, he becomes reacquainted with a former trick, Phil Stark, who has undergone an amazing transformation from bar hustler to professional escort. When Anderson is murdered, Hardesty is hired by the escort services owners, Arnold and Iris Glick, to keep Phil and the agency away from police scrutiny. Two subsequent murders make this impossible, and Hardesty embarks on a mission to find the identity of the killer.

If the police can’t solve these murders, how will Dick be able to piece everything together?

The pacing was strong and steady from the first chapter to the last one. It was difficult to find a decent place to stop reading when I needed to do other things because every scene was plotted out so well. No sooner would one question be answered than another one would take its place. I simultaneously didn’t want this story to end and couldn’t wait to find out how the author was going to tie everything together!

The cast was quite large. It would have been really helpful to have a list of who all of the new people were and how they were connected to this case. The characters from the previous books in this series were easy to remember because I’ve read all of them, but I occasionally mixed up the ones who were brand new in this universe. There simply weren’t quite enough details about their lives to remember who was who in a few cases. This is my only criticism of an otherwise very well done storyline.

One of the things I enjoy the most about Mr. Grey’s books is how closely he expects his audience to pay attention to what is going on in them. None of the Dick Hardesty mysteries that I’ve read so far have been easy to figure out. The clues were there, but I definitely had to put some work into them in order to fit everything together properly. I appreciate that in this genre.

While this plot does technically work as a standalone novel, I do recommend checking out The Butcher’s Son, The Ninth Man, and The Bar Watcher first in order to get to know the recurring characters and their backstories. I would have been a little confused by the first few scenes if I wasn’t already familiar with this series.

The Hired Man kept me guessing until the end. It’s a good choice for anyone who enjoys historical mysteries as much as I do.

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