I look forward to starting a new series because, if I like the main character, I know I'll have more great books to read. And I just found a good one. The Girl In The Window was nominated for a Barry Award and though it didn't win, it's well worth a read.
The protagonist, Inspector Samuel Tay works for the Singapore police investigating crimes of murder. A fascinating character, he's been solving murders longer than any normal human being should. Fortunately, he not quite normal...by Singapore's standards, anyway. He's a bit cynical, but does his job well in a country that has become more and more determined to sanitize it's streets, its image and even the way people think. But these are minor problems when Inspector Tay is asked to work with Singapore's Internal Security Division and join the hunt for an international terrorist. Tay's boss warns him that ISD may simply want to set up the police for the blame in case things go wrong. And wrong they do go.
Tay's longtime partner is killed during an undercover operation. Tay must not only handle his grief but hunt down the very terrorist they were seeking, a man who appears to getting protection from some very powerful people. To prevent himself from being drummed out of a job and catch the killer, Tay must draw on some longtime contacts with shady backgrounds. What he doesn't yet know is how a mysterious witness fits in. The girl in the window, whom he sees for a moment just before his partner is gunned down, may be key to solving the crime...if he can find her.
Singapore makes for an interesting setting for a crime novel, even if the people who run it make it hard to enjoy a good smoke and a cup of coffee. Sam Tay refuses to give up the two things (caffeine and nicotine) that fuel him through the day (and the Irish whiskey that soothes him as he sits in his garden in the evening). As an ex-smoker and still coffee drinker, I can relate. Tay doesn't fit in with the changes that have swept over modern Singapore. He longs for a better time, when the character of the place he calls home hadn't been demolished, scrubbed, and covered over with modern architecture that lacks humanity. His humorous thoughts on food, women and government planning are not only funny, but pretty accurate. I wouldn't mind joining him in his garden with a tumbler after a tough day. For now, I'll just have to seek out the rest of this series.