Neal Carey is a graduate student who simply wants to be left alone to finish up his Masters in literature. But, Neal also happens to be a P.I. A P.I. who works for "The Family." They took him in as a "friend" of the "Family" when his drug addict mother failed to follow through on her duties. Then the "Family" paid for Neal to go to college. So, when the "Family" comes knocking on Neal's door to put his P.I. skills to work finding Allie Chase, the missing daughter of Senator Chase, Neal doesn't have much choice but to comply.
Senator Chase is in contention for the vice presidency and he needs his missing, drug-addict daughter home and clean for a wholesome family appearance before the Democratic Convention. Allie was spotted in London and that's where Neal heads and finds more adventure than he had planned.
A COOL BREEZE ON THE UNDERGROUND is Don Winslow's first book in the Neal Carey series. I listened to this one on audio. It was read by Joe Barrett who did a very nice job with voicing the various characters. He didn't grow overly dramatic and his inflections were well-placed and timed. I enjoyed his reading of this book.
Winslow's characters are superb. He did make use of the damsel in distress, which I'm not especially fond of, but he saved himself from my bigger pet peeve at the conclusion of the novel, but to avoid spoilers, I'll let you find that one out for yourself.
I absolutely loved "Dad." Joe Graham is the man who taught Neal everything he knows about P.I. work. And Neal refers to him as "Dad." Joe has an artificial arm, which amusingly plays a role in how Neal and Joe end up meeting. Throughout the book Winslow flashes back to various events in Neal's P.I. "education." The relationship between Neal and Graham is humorous and vital to understanding both characters.
COOL BREEZE's plot is a mover, filled with plenty of twists, as Neal explains, the life of a P.I. is lies.
A COOL BREEZE ON THE UNDERGROUND is a fast, funny, enjoyable beginning to the Neal Carey series. I look forward to reading more.