What the Fly Saw
Detective Hannah McCabe #2
Author: Frankie Y. Bailey
Author website: http://www.frankieybailey.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
Albany, New York, January 2020
The morning after a blizzard that shut down the city, funeral director Kevin Novak is found dead in the basement of his funeral home. The arrow sticking out of his chest came from his own hunting bow. A loving husband and father and an active member of a local megachurch, Novak had no known enemies. His family and friends say he had been depressed because his best friend died suddenly of a heart attack and Novak blamed himself. But what does his guilt have to do with his death? Maybe nothing, maybe a lot. The minister of the megachurch, the psychiatrist who provides counseling to church members, or the folksy Southern medium who irritates both men—one of these people may know why Novak was murdered. Detective Hannah McCabe and her partner, Mike Baxter, sort through lies and evasions to find the person who killed their “Cock Robin,” But McCabe is distracted by a political controversy involving her family, unanswered questions from another high-profile case, and her own guilt when a young woman dies after McCabe fails to act.
What the Fly Saw is a strange, mildly futuristic police mystery. It is the second book for author Frankie Y. Bailey’s Detective Hannah McCabe character. The setting is a parallel universe of Albany, NY taking place in January 2020. I kind of expected more futuristic things, but seeing that 2020 is only 4 years from now I guess that makes sense that I did not find them. The protagonist Detective Hannah McCabe has the foundation for being a good character, but is not really. Her partner Mike Baxter has secrets that keep him from being fully committed. I think if I had read the first in this series I may have had a clearer view of some of the references to the past and also a better grasp of the characters themselves. That said this was an interesting read and after a slow start kept my attention.
Detectives McCabe and Baxter are called out after a city stopping blizzard to investigate a body found in the basement of a local funeral parlor. The body is that of funeral director, family man and church activist Kevin Novak. He seems to be well liked and has no enemies. So how did he end up with an arrow through his lung? The detectives interview those closest to him – wife, son, daughter, reverend, therapist, and friends – and even though it seems they are hiding something, no one seems to be the murderer. Mr. Novak’s depression after the death of his best friend seems to be the only sticking point, at first that is. The detectives have to keep questioning and hunting for answers to find the truth. When a medium is poisoned, that just throws more questions in the mix.
What the Fly Saw is peppered with a wide array of characters and some are very interesting such as Luanne the medium, Olive the senior go getter, and then there is Ted the billionaire, McCabe’s dad and his dog. These characters help drive the sometimes slow story. A few side stories seemed a bit unnecessary such as the Cholera and zombie druggies. And the political inferences seemed to point to more to come in later books. I found at times the author was trying too hard to include everything in that may or may not be relevant at some later writing. For me that brought down the pace and resonance of the story. Others may not.
I did enjoy the mystery. I found Olive and Luanne to be very interesting and fun characters. I think this is a book that would be better appreciated after reading the first in the series. There were several side issues that left me hanging and that pulled down the pace of the story. I would think those who enjoy a bit of sci-fi mystery would enjoy this read. I had to read it as though it was not in the future since this parallel universe kind of threw things off for me. Also anyone that likes to read police procedurals would probably enjoy this book. Once I was in immersed in the read I did get into it and found more to enjoy than not.