Saturday 16 July 2022



To beat the streets…

Calvin Watters spent three hard years on the Vegas streets, working the depths of the red light district. When a string of escort murders surfaces and the LVMPD has no answers, they realize that there is only one man they can turn to for help.

…you have to know the streets.

Calvin vowed to never return to his former life, but this new case pulls him back in. As he hits the streets, his honed survival skills kick in, and the PI must call upon his past experience to outwit a worthy opponent.

Caught in the crosshairs.

When Calvin killed Derek Baxter, he added fuel to an ever-growing fire inside Baxter’s longtime sniper partner, Jackson North. Now North is out for revenge, but how far will the hitman go to leave his mark on Calvin’s life?

An okay thriller/mystery from new-to-me author, Luke Murphy. Finders Keepers is the fourth entry in his Calvin Watters PI series. Watters is a PI in Las Vegas, living with ex-escort girlfriend, Rachel. Rachel is someone he rescued from a life on the streets. 

In the book we have two story arcs. In the first, I sense unfinished business from events that maybe happened in an earlier book. Watters is the target of a rogue, ex-military hitman, Jackson North after killing North's best friend. We open with North sniping at Calvin as he exits the airport with a protection detail around him. North takes out one of the guards, when he had the skillset to do for Calvin and end the book almost as soon as it started. North wants Watters dead, but for some bizarre reason wants to fanny around first before doing the deed. As the book progresses North dips in and out of the story, attacking people close to Calvin without actually getting on with his main objective. To be honest this stretched the boundaries of credibility just a bit too far for me. The guy's bad, a wrong un but a professional. He had multiple opportunities to eliminate Calvin but didn't. 1/10 for believability and my back's up and everything else that happens in the book I'm testing for plot weaknesses, instead of being able to go with the story and the flow of the book.   

In a second plot line, Calvin's best friend Dale - a Vegas homicide detective is investigating three murders of escorts that indicate a serial killer on the loose. One of Rachel's friends, who is in the business has gone missing and they fear she's his next victim. Calvin, Rachel and Dale set up a sting to draw the killer out. Things go pear-shaped, don't they always? Calvin and Dale have to bring down the killer and now rescue Rachel as well, after she's abducted. Again I found elements a bit too stretched in the believability stakes. A PI working that closely with an active police investigation? 

I liked elements of the book. I enjoyed Calvin taking to the streets and pressing pimps and their heavies for information on the dead girls. There's a decent investigation - interviews, pavement pounding, trawling of records, getting as much information from the autopsies as possible and extrapolating theories and lines of enquiries. It just would have been more realistic as a cop investigation, as opposed to a PI blagging it. Maybe that's just me.

Overall, it was ok and maybe I'm being unduly critical. (The book has 75% 5 star reviews, 20% 4 stars.) Others clearly had no real issues with it. I just felt it kind of tried to do too much, with the two strong plot lines which might have been better served by being separate books. It almost seemed like the hitman/assassin thread was dropped in as an afterthought or filler to up the page count. In trying to do too much, it didn't really do nything at all for me. That said I'm not a massive fan of the serial killer trope anyway. I do like a hitman tale and a game of cat and mouse. Just not the two together please. 

2.5 from 5

Read - (listened to) July, 2022

Published - 2021

Page count - 250 (8 hrs 42 mins)

Source  - Audible purchase

Format - Audible


  1. I know just what you mean about Jackson North, Col. I like more realism in my stories than that, too. The Vegas setting is appealing, and sounds about right for the sort of story it is. Still...not sure this would be for me.

    1. Margot, you win some you lose some. It wasn't awful and I did enjoy bits of it, it just didn't work as well for me as I'd hoped.