James Patterson is a crime writing industry. While he has a successful solo career he has also paired up with a range of authors, including Bill Clinton, to release a huge number of co-authored titles. Candice Fox is an Australian crime writing star in her own right – a multiple Ned Kelly Award winner whose latest series is currently being turned into a TV series. Two Sisters Detective Agency is the sixth collaboration between the two and clearly the start of a new series given the titular detective agency is only floated as an idea at the end of the book.
When the book opens, Chicago public defender Rhonda Bird is informed that her father has died and that she has to come to LA for the reading of the will. Bird has not seen her father since she was thirteen when he ran out on her and her mother to start a new life. When Rhonda arrives in LA she finds that she has not only inherited her father’s house and his decrepit business but care for his teenage daughter from another short-lived relationship. The two do not hit it off but are soon thrown together as they discover their father’s connection to a Mexican drug cartel.
But there is more – the story of a group of bored, entitled, wealthy teenagers who terrorise people for fun is wound around the main plot. In the opening the group terrorise a man and hurt his family. This turns out to be a mistake as the man turns out to be a retired assassin who then goes on the hunt. For most of the book the story of the hunting down of the entitled teens is only tangentially related to the odd couple/drug trafficking plot although they do come together at the end. So it almost feels like the book was actually written by two different people.
Two Sisters Detective Agency is pacey while it lasts but not a lot of it makes senses if you stop to think about it. There is plenty of mayhem and violence which everyone seems to take in their stride – as if streetside shootouts or stand offs with Mexican gunmen in abandoned amusement parks were just an everyday part of life. And while the main two characters are fun to spend time with, the rest of the players, particularly the assassin and the head mean girl, feel like they come from central casting. All that said, it is a perfect beach or airport/plane flight read and if it encourages readers to go and discover more of Candice Fox’s far superior solo work then all the better for them.