RogerBW's Blog

The Big Dig, Linda Barnes 28 October 2022

2002 mystery, ninth in the Carlotta Carlyle series (neo-noir private investigation). As the Big Dig tunnels under Boston, Carlotta's picking up regular work working undercover for the inspectors. But people are behaving strangely, and then one of them has an "accident"…

There's quite a bit going on here, because Carlotta gets another case as well, a missing woman who may just have taken off with a new boyfriend or may have got involved in something worse. And there's a central coincidence that, while it's not utterly crucial to the plot, does strain my suspension of disbelief a bit.

But that's really the one thing that's wrong here: Carlotta starts off well behind the game, but catches up with the bad guys and overtakes them, though a combination of investigative competence, toughness in a tight situation, and sheer persistence, even when she has no idea who might be trustworthy. The Big Dig is not the only subject that Barnes is writing about here, though to reveal the other would be something of a spoiler. There are new friends and new enemies, and I hope some of them may return.

At the same time Carlotta stays in control of her self, as a noir protagonist should; one long-term personal problem is resolved, but nothing gets a quick or easy answer. Over this series I have come to like her and her halo of friends; I want good things to happen to them, even though I know the hell they'll have to go through to get their happy resolutions.

This is number nine in the series, and the usual warning applies: while a new reader wouldn't be confused by anything here, they wouldn't get the emotional weight that goes with having met these people before.

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Previous in series: Flashpoint | Series: Carlotta Carlyle | Next in series: Deep Pockets

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