Seattle Red (The Boss MacTavin Action Mysteries Book 4) by Reb MacRath

Boss takes his newly acquired (and very un-Bosslike) man bag with him to the mean streets of Seattle in this new mystery that is vintage Boss MacTavin.

His client: Ramona Hinton, who just wants to know who is responsible for the untimely demise of her security guard husband, found in the drug-infested alley behind the convenience store in which he worked.

But the case involves far more than what appears to be a random whack job. It turns out to be an epic fight against Organized Retail Crime (ORC), which is running rampant in area stores. Boss joins forces with some highly memorable characters, including local rent-a-cop legend Duncan Jackson (think “Denzel Washington in Crimson Tide”) and beefy detective Al Swanson who “was in his mid-forties, six-three, 230 pounds. He appeared to like the sauce and had the pallid complexion and rasp of a serial smoker.”

As with every Boss book, author extraordinaire Reb MacRath entertains endlessly, marrying matchless prose with memorable plotlines. This installment in the series is no exception. From time to time, he can’t resist a well-turned, quotable phrase:

“Deep voice. Soft and low as a spirit can go.”


“Angus McPherson — born of thunderrrrrr, drunk on blood!”


“Tough guy in a small man’s way. Dead-eyed and bullet-headed.”

But, back to the story. Boss, and his two colleagues, DB (Dirty Boy) and Luigi, take on the boosters and the alphas that comprise the majority of fleet-fingered felons by posing as either blind-eyed security guards or, in Boss’s case, as a multi-pocketed pilferer — the better to sniff his way up the food chain to the head goombahs running the rackets.

The team is subsequently joined by a gorgeous Geisha to run a sting that will entice the ORC mind trust to reveal themselves, so the Seattle detective team, Al and his partner Bobby, can swoop in and make the pinch.

But it’s not that simple. The good guys run up against some tough resistance and before the end the plotline dips and twists on a rollercoaster ride to the surprising finish.

A special highlight: at one point in the story, Boss is forced to make use of a unique boutique called Armless Arms, which specializes in “alternative weapons” from bladed crucifixes to tactical pens to stun guns disguised as cell phones. The resulting firefight — without any fire — is truly inventive.

This is a well-orchestrated story that shows off all the Boss bravado fans have come to love, backed up by an ensemble cast of characters who are totally believable and one hundred percent enjoyable.

Five-plus stars to Seattle Red. And bring on the next book in the series. We’re all rrrready for yet another Boss Corrrrection.

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