This was old Miami, classic, historic, with a coat of paint over something darker and more dangerous.
It’s been a year since we last saw Pete Fernandez in Silent City. And while he made it out of the events of that book alive, he may wish he hadn’t.
Fernandez has lost his job as a journalist, his marriage has fallen apart, his best friend was killed, and he’s learned those closest to you are the ones whose betrayal hurts the most—and are the ones that you never see coming.
And in case you think life is taking a turn for the better for Fernandez, Down the Darkest Street opens with Fernandez in an alley getting his ass kicked as a result of his drunken antics in the bar he’s been making home for the past year.
Not a complete lost cause, Fernandez decides to try and get things back on track by attending AA, and in short order seems to have the train once again rolling in the right direction. Of course, it wouldn’t make for much of a story if Fernandez didn’t get into trouble, so author Alex Segura quickly derails Fernandez’s train to happily ever after.
First he has Emily, Fernandez’s ex-wife, move in with him to regroup as her new marriage hits the rocks. An encounter with her husband, Rick, puts the case of a missing woman on Fernandez’s map, and before he can stop himself Fernandez is reaching out to his best friend Kathy Bentley, his partner in Silent City and still a journalist with the paper that fired Fernandez, for assistance looking into the matter. They soon discover that Rick’s missing friend is not the first woman to go missing recently, and the details they uncover have a disturbing resemblance to the crimes of a known serial killer. One who was executed over twenty years ago.
Unfortunately for Fernandez, when he starts looking into the abyss it does more than look back—it comes after him and everything he holds dear…with a vengeance.
Down the Darkest Street finds both Fernandez and Segura in classic form: Fernandez up to his eyes in trouble, often of his own making, and Segura dialing up the atmosphere and tension in Miami. Indeed, the city itself is as much a character as any human in the story, though Segura prefers to send Fernandez into areas off the beaten path and away from the neon-soaked nights and sun-drenched beaches that usually take center stage in Miami-based writing. Instead, Segura makes use of the seedy bars and strip malls that are as much a part of the city as they are anywhere, but which one doesn’t normally associate with Miami.
And rather than build his story around the high-profile disappearance of wealthy/media-friendly girl, Segura explores what happens when people with no special voice or power disappear, as demonstrated through the heartbreaking interviews Fernandez and Bentley have with friends and family of the missing. And though Fernandez is more than capable of being his own worst enemy, Segura also saddles him with two obstinate FBI agents, who are less than pleased with the golden boy of the Silent Killer case (Silent City) poking his nose into their investigation.
Segura proved in Silent City that he’s not afraid to send his characters through the ringer, and that not everyone is guaranteed to make it out alive, and he’s lived up to that approach again. The end result makes for a high-stakes, tension-filled read, where virtually anything can and does happen as Pete Fernandez travels Down the Darkest Street.
Down the Darkest Street is available from Polis Books (ISBN: 978-1940610757).