Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Martin Collins #01 - The Colonel

Patrick A. Davis is a U.S. Air Force veteran and former commercial airline pilot who began writing military-based conspiracy thrillers in 1998 before finding a series character named Martin Collins for a three-book run. The debut is called The Colonel from 2001.

Our hero and first-person narrator is widower Martin Collins. When we meet him, he is living in rural Northern Virginia with a grass airplane runway while enjoying his retirement from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. He took a job as Chief of Police in a town of about 2,000 residents and a seven-man police department. When Martin left the federal government, he promised his boss he would come back as a consultant investigator for the rare homicide investigation that arose involving Air Force personnel.

Martin is called back into service coinciding with the discovery of a brutal murder in Arlington, Virginia of a U.S. Air Force Colonel named Margaret who was slaughtered in her home along with her two young children. The case is assigned to a local homicide detective named Simon Santos who requests Martin’s assistance in the investigation.

Simon is a fascinating character. He’s a dapper multimillionaire polymath who works as a police detective for the thrill of the chase. Other cops resent him but respect his mental firepower. Reading about the personal wealth and opulence he leverages to solve cases is a ton of fun.

Martin is partnered with a pretty and smart young investigator named Amanda. They take care of most of the fieldwork and consult periodically with Simon who plays the Sherlock Holmes/Nero Wolfe role in the ensemble. The victim’s job was in the Pentagon’s airplane safety inspection unit, not exactly at the tip of the spear for likely murder targets.

The publisher packaged the paperback to mimic the look of a W.E.B. Griffin military fiction novel (Griffin also blurbed the paperback), but The Colonel is more of a tight police procedural. Davis’ writing is filled with “inside Washington” skullduggery and political corruption reminiscent of James Cody’s The D.C. Man series from the 1970s.

The murder solution was twisty and well-conceived and there was plenty of bloody, murderous violence to please the men’s adventure crowd. There was really nothing to dislike about this series debut, and it’s an easy recommendation for fans of political-intrigue and police procedural mysteries. Recommended. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

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