Monday, December 04, 2017

The Silent Second by Adam Walker Phillips

Who would ever expect a Human Resources manager to be a successor to Raymond Chandler? Adam Walker Phillips' Chuck Restic walks Chandler's mean streets of Los Angeles in the debut mystery, The Silent Second. It's an unusual combination, HR professional and amateur sleuth, but it works.

Chuck Restic had one good idea, an idea that shot him to HR executive in his company. Now, he's been there for twenty years. He's as bored with his life as his wife was. She left him, and now he's just going through the motions. As he tells it, he isn't surprised when an always-complaining associate complained about a co-worker. He is surprised when Ed Vadaresian doesn't show up for work again, and is officially declared a missing person.

Chuck's curiosity sends him to Vadaresian's home in the Armenian neighborhood in Glendale. He's told stories about Ed's business dealings and that the man is back in Armenia. Before he knows it, he's digging into Ed's personnel files, where he discovers real estate holdings. Restic is already in deep. Before he knows it, he's investigating real estate, checking on his wife's relationships with entrepreneurs, and asking questions. He's hanging out with a reporter friend and cops. When a friend is murdered, and Chuck is beaten up by thugs, he knows he's in dangerous territory. But, Chuck Restic has never felt so alive.

With his melancholy attitude and knowledge of HR jingoism, Chuck Restic makes a perfect narrator. The author, and the character, show a knowledge of Los Angeles that adds to the atmospheric story. There's a hopelessness at times that is perfect for this novel. Adam Walker Phillips' debut mystery, The Silent Second, introduces an amateur sleuth worth following.

Adam Walker Phillips' website is

The Silent Second by Adam Walker Phillips. Prospect Park Books, 2017. ISBN 9781945551048 (paperback), 280p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Glen Davis said...

It seems a bit odd. Most people would think the HR pro would be the victim in a cozy.

Lesa said...

I totally agree, Glen! But, this HR pro is bored and knows all the catch phrases. The work aspect of this mystery is actually funny.