Reviewed by Dan
TITLE: Skin Puppet
SERIES: Reightman & Bailey #3
AUTHOR: Jeffery Craig
PUBLISHER: Jeffery Craig Books
LENGTH: 419 Pages
RELEASE DATE: April 28, 2017
In Skin Puppet: Reightman & Bailey Book Three, the whole gang from Capital Street is back and almost ready for business. It’s just two weeks until The Reightman & Bailey Agency officially opens, but Melba Reightman and Toby Bailey have things pretty much under control. After the horrific events of the last six months, things starting to feel almost normal again. They’re both happy to just hunker down and do what’s needed to make their new business a success. So far, everything looks to be “all systems go and full speed ahead.”
An inconvenient lisp resulting from a busted lip slows things down a bit for Toby, and makes him sound embarrassing like a cartoon character. And there’s the whole awkward situation with Jon Chiang. One minute Zhou Li’s nephew is cold and distant, and the next minute…well, Toby could swear the guy might be interested in something more. It’s all very confusing.
Melba’s got her hands full completing last minute paperwork so they can open for business. To complicate matters further, there’s the huge stack of invitations Madame Zhou dropped off, all needing to be hand-addressed. Melba doesn’t really think they need to throw a huge grand opening party, but there no use in arguing the point with the bossy owner of Green Dragon. To top things off, the sneaky octogenarian has strongly hinted Melba needs a new dress.
With so much going on, the news about children missing from the area hasn’t really registered on anyone’s radar. The single flyer posted by a desperate mother looking for her missing daughter was disturbing, but it’s really a matter for the local police, not the Reightman & Bailey Agency. Right?
Wrong. Things are never that easy.
WARNING: This novel deals with mature subject matter.
Here we are, back for book three of Jeffery Craig’s Reightman & Bailey series, and I’ve got to tell you I really like these characters and the things they get up to! I am so happy that I stumbled onto the first and second books when they first came out, and I’m really happy the story is continuing. In the current installment, Skin Puppet, the characters we came to know and love in the first two books are back center stage, and the story is set just after the end of book two with little or no gap in time. Toby and Melba now have their private detective agency up and ready for business. And just in time it seems.
Girls are disappearing from the city, including the child of one of the side characters we met in the previous books, so it is personal for Toby and Melba. When the case blows up to huge proportions, the Feds are called in.
The story, as I mentioned above, deals with children disappearing, and with the shadowy world of child sex slavery, but it does it in a slightly distanced way for the most part. There are a couple child deaths and abuses, but otherwise it is kept mostly ‘off camera’. I think the author did a good job with that. We, the readers, know what is going on, and we suspect we know who is behind it, but with a couple of exceptions, we don’t hear a lot about the actual abuse. I’m going to have to admit that I only vaguely suspected the actual perpetrator, who wasn’t revealed until the end of the book. Good job Mr. Craig keeping me guessing.
I really liked this one and I’m going to recommend it highly. It flows well from the previous books, and the story is planned to continue, so there is a teaser in the last few paragraphs that hints where the author is going next. I look forward to continuing the journey. If you like detective / whodunit / mystery type stories, this series should definitely work for you. Start with book one though and catch up, because I think you would be lost without the background in the first two books. I gave the first two 5.0 ratings as well, and I don’t think catching up should be too onerous on you! 🙂