Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Hidden Identity
Author: Adam Carpenter
Series: The Jimmy McSwain Files
Heroes: Jimmy McSwain
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 206 Pages
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Available at: MLR Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: When Jimmy McSwain is hired to find missing heir Harris Rothschild, he finds that identities can be altered and lives can be changed–or taken with the simple pull of the trigger.
Jimmy McSwain is a New York City private detective, operating out of Hell’s Kitchen, the rough and tumble neighborhood he grew up in. At age fourteen, he watched as his NYPD father was gunned down. Now, at age twenty-eight, gay, Jimmy has never given up pursuit of whoever killed him. But a PI must make a living, and so he’s taken on the case of missing heir Harris Rothschild, whose overbearing father doesn’t approve of his “alternate” lifestyle.Tracking down Harris is easier than expected, but the carnage that follows isn’t. With a shocking murder on his hands, and a threat coming from some unforeseen person, Jimmy’s caseload is suddenly full, and very dangerous.
This ended up being a bit different than what I was expecting, and there were a lot of things I really enjoyed about it.
After his father and off-duty policeman was gunned down and died in his arms at fourteen, Jimmy McSwain has made a promise to not stop until his murderer was found. This is Jimmy’s focus throughout this story, as the anniversary of his father’s death approaches. It has shaped his life and what led him to being a private detective, as opposed to a policeman.
Meanwhile, Jimmy takes on the case to search for Harris Rothschild. I had wrongly assumed this story would be about Jimmy and Harris, which it is, but they don’t ever get involved beyond a professional/friend level.
Early on, Jimmy meets a young Englishman who is in NY for a few months for work. They begin a relationship, although Jimmy’s issues get in the way. With him only being here for a few months, it never really felt like this could go anywhere.
Back to the mystery though. Jimmy actually locates Harris rather quickly, in a drag club. Harris was really sweet. He left home and out from under his controlling father. He found himself in drag and finally felt comfortable and confident with himself. Jimmy gives him the requested 24 hours before alerting his parents, but trouble gets in the way of things causing Jimmy’s case to take an abrupt turn.
I really enjoyed the references to the Broadway shows. Jimmy grew up in the theaters. His mother is a supervisor of theater ushers and often employes her kids to help out. I also really enjoyed the mystery with Harris, and the ensuing twists that happen after he is found.
One thing I had some trouble with was Jimmy constantly bringing up his father and his death. I realize that is a big part of his issues, but it just seemed unnecessarily repetitive. The other thing, which didn’t actually bother me, but it was definitely different, was the lack of a clear second MC or relationship.
Towards the end, there was some interesting potential with the police chief, but it doesn’t get very far, though perhaps we will get to see that in another story. This story moves along at a good pace, and was well written. If you’re looking for something heavy on the mystery/suspense, but doesn’t really focus on a relationship, I recommend giving this a try. I definitely enjoyed getting to know Jimmy and hope we get to see more of him tackling some new case files.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*