Somewhere near the middle of the smart, fast-paced thriller The Redhead in the Cove (Waterside Productions)by Scott Addeo Young and Edmond G. Addeo appears the sentence, “As the wise old Socrates said in the Forum to the eager young Plato while ankle-biter Aristotle crawled around the sand at their feet, ‘You never know.’”

You never know. Isn’t that the secret for a great thriller? That, along with a likeable, relatable protagonist who is clever, witty (or so he thinks) and of the right voice to guide us through a page-turning whodunit.

We are introduced to our 65-year-old Private Investigator Steve Lombardi as he casually leaves a bar late at night. With a few quick, strategically placed moves, he beats the crap out of three younger, stronger thugs who were about to beat the crap out of a helpless girl. All in a day’s work for Steve, who shortly after admits to feeling his age. “If you go to the Sacramento Hall of Meaningless Records, you might find out I’m really not the oldest practicing PI in the state. But it sure feels like it sometimes.”

The story unfolds in San Francisco, a Giants baseball game to be specific, when a young redhead is found floating in McCovey’s Cove, the chilly water over the right field fence. Steve is contacted by his best friend Johnny Lynch, an ex-cop who admits to having an affair with the redhead, a beautiful Southern-transplanted nurse named MaryLou, and advises that authorities will likely think he killed her. He asks Steve to conduct his own investigation in the hope of finding the killer and clearing his name.

AGATHA CHRISTIE-ESQUE REVEAL AMONG DIVERSE SUSPECT POOL

The suspects are diverse and many, reminding us of a game of Clue. When they all come together at the end, although not to meet their fate just yet, one thinks of an Agatha Christie moment-of-truth gathering among her perilous players.

Steve’s probing leads to a host of characters: MaryLou’s bullying husband, her lifelong friend who held a crush until the end, her gay lover, a doctor suspected of dealing drugs on the side, and her disappearing father whose MO seems to be bash anyone that suits him. The authors work the cliffhanger chapter endings well, with Steve often pondering a clue or behavior that may or may not mean anything but keeps readers on their toes.

While the narrative tracks Steve’s investigation, a second storyline follows MaryLou’s background that led her from Louisiana to the city by the Bay. The two threads converge nicely.

Scott Addeo Young and Ed Addeo (who happens to be Scott’s grandfather) have delivered a classy crime thriller with a swift plot, many hooks, characters who are well-defined (flaws and all), and even a nice geography and culture lesson about San Francisco and its surrounding areas.

In the end, Lombardi ponders a quote from the South American writer Jorge Luis Borges, “The future is inevitable and precise, but it may not occur. God lurks in the gaps.” So true, and often the case with people whose dreams don’t materialize for one reason or another down the pathway of life — or the pathway to murder.

The Redhead in the Cove is available for purchase here.

About Scott Addeo Young and Ed Addeo:

Scott Addeo Young is a writer from the Bay Area. He is a graduate in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he still lives and splits his time between the northern and southern coasts of California.

Ed Addeo is an engineer by education, worked on the Atlas missile booster and sustainer engines, but gave it up because he believes he is really F. Scott Fitzgerald. He became a journalist on Los Angeles newspapers, a film columnist, and then a trade magazine editor for McGraw-Hill. He kicked around as an advertising copywriter and PR executive, began his author career, and now has 12 books under his belt. He lives in Mill Valley, CA. Visit edaddeo.com