Matt Coyle’s series featuring San Diego PI Rick Cahill has been a critical and fan favorite from its first novel, Yesterday’s Echo. His books have always managed to maintain a vintage feel – harkening back to the golden age of private eyes – while still appealing to and being relevant for modern readers. After an emotionally-draining and physically-taxing case in Lost Tomorrows, Rick Cahill returns in Blind Vigil. Never one to make things easy on his characters, Matt Coyle has placed our hero in the midst of his most personal challenge yet – which is saying something for a man who has been through the trails and tribulations that Rick Cahill has previously faced.
After losing his sight during a tense conclusion to his last case, Rick Cahill is struggling to come to terms with his blindness. Unsure how to proceed with a career under the burden of this new challenge, when Moira Macfarlane requests that Rick accompany her to an interview with Rick’s estranged friend Turk Muldoon, he is unable to resist. It is not very long before a simple case of background investigation transforms into a murder inquiry and Rick once again must come to the aid of a friend.
Through his first-person narration, Matt Coyle does an cogent job of placing readers in the footsteps of a blind person. As we have all heard, when a person loses the use of one of their senses, the others seem to become more sensitive to compensate for this loss. So, despite not being able to use his eyes to investigate, Rick’s other senses come into play in ways that readers will find both fascinating and believable. Rick Cahill is not the type of guy who wants anyone’s pity, so proving his value after such a tragic turn of events is important; but there is no doubt that such a massive shift in perspective must have an impact on his character development. Matt Coyle navigates this masterfully. The Rick Cahill of Blind Vigil is not the same as the Rick Cahill in the early part of the series (or frankly, even in the previous book), but those changes have been incremental, and this latest challenge is simply the next step in his evolution.
In many ways, the central themes of Blind Vigil could be the concept of loss and the need for connection and the many ways they manifest in human life. The strained friendship between Rick and Turk feels authentic. Toxic masculinity too often dominates in books under the banner of the PI genre, but Matt Coyle has shown with Rick Cahill that this is not a requirement. Like anyone, Rick has his flaws, but there is no doubt that loyalty is important to him and that has remained consistent across the series. The case at the core of Blind Vigil unspools in logical fashion and at a rapid speed. Matt Coyle’s streamlined writing style adds an ease to the reading process that keeps the pages turning. By the end of the novel, readers will be anxious for the next book in this series.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.