When one knows that a book is the last in a series, some expectations are bound to exist. Longtime fans of the series will be looking for some closure, some sense that their time investment served some “higher” purpose. With Miami Midnight, the final Pete Fernandez novel, Alex Segura accomplishes this and more. However, there is also often the sense that new readers might as well not pick up the latest novel for fear of being lost in the convolution of backstory generated by past books. Here again, Alex Segura exceeds expectations and makes Miami Midnight just as successful and compelling for new fans as it is for his regular readers. The term “new fans” is intentional because once finished reading this entry, it is hard to imagine anyone not wanting to seek out more of Segura’s work.
As Miami Midnight opens, Pete Fernandez’s existence is probably in the best shape it could possibly be in, given all that he has been through. “Retired” from his PI gig, Pete is now running a small used bookstore. While his personal life is in shambles, he finds himself strangely content with the status quo. More importantly – and most impressively – Pete is also finally in recovery for his drinking problem, although it remains a constant struggle – one that only becomes more challenging when Pete, against his own better judgment, takes on a new investigative case for a legendary Cuban mobster.
Crime fiction readers have probably noticed how often music factors into the canon of this popular genre. Miami Midnight adds to that tradition. The case Pete takes on involves the death of a jazz musician, the son of the mob boss. As such, music infuses the proceedings, like a motif designed to ground the reader in the Miami ambiance. It is a classic crime fiction trope, but Alex Segura manages to make it feel completely fresh. This is largely attributed to the unique Miami setting, an area Segura champions and now pretty much “owns” in terms of crime fiction legacy.
The further Pete digs into this present-day case, the closer he gets to solving the long-standing mystery involving his mother, his own past, and just possibly his future as well. The risks are real, but Pete has his regular contingent of helpers by his side. Even so, it will be a miracle if they all manage to survive.
It is hard to imagine that Alex Segura didn’t have this ending in mind even before he wrote the first word of Silent City. Each novel now seems like an episodic layover in a long-form epic, with the most important common denominator being the evolution of Pete Fernandez himself. Readers have followed Pete on this journey and it is refreshing to see such a complex trajectory come to a satisfying conclusion. Miami Midnight is a crowning achievement that will leave readers anxious to see what Alex Segura is going to offer up next.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.