Drink the Tea Review
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Record store manager by day, P.I. by night, Willis Gidney knows the streets of D.C. and its surrounding areas all too well. Never knowing his parents and spending his early life homeless before making his way in and out of the juvenile detention system and foster homes, he never lost his street smarts. However, one foster parent gave him a set of ethics that would remain with him for the rest of his life.

Gidney’s P.I. business isn’t going too well until friend and jazz saxophonist Steps Jackson requests Gidney’s help in locating his daughter. The problem is that he never met her, and he doesn’t even know her name. In fact, all he does know is that she’s about 25 years old. That—and the mother’s name—is all that Willis has to work with.

Willis is able to gather more information, but, unfortunately, he takes on more than he anticipated. Not only is his life constantly threatened, but he runs into dead bodies, winds up with a baby, and develops a possible love interest. Add to that, he encounters incidences of money laundering, drugs, crooked politicians, and more. Whew! In other words, there’s a lot going on here.

Drink the Tea is loaded with twists and turns, as well as interesting characters, a surprise ending, and action on almost every page. So why didn’t this book captivate me as much as other thrillers? Why was it easy to put down and resume later? This took me a while to figure out. Maybe it was because there are so many elements thrown in that they diluted the story. It’s like when you throw so many yummy ingredients into a single recipe that you can no longer savor the essence or aroma. The end product turns into mush. While Drink the Tea is not that extreme, it may have worked better if the author had gone a step further and written it as satire. For instance, there’s one security employee who sees his murder victims as an art form. Call me morbid, but I think that centering on this character would have made for a fascinating read. However, it only serves as detail—a minuscule part of the story.

What I did enjoy, though, was the way that we learn about Gidney’s childhood—bit by bit, as the current day’s events unfold. This case takes him back to his childhood. In many ways, the corruption that he faces now really isn’t that much different from that which took place in juvenile hall. Those childhood recollections are incorporated well into the story.

I think that many readers will still enjoy Drink the Tea. It’s not that it’s bad—or poorly written. It’s just that there are so many unique and intriguing mysteries and character studies out there. In other words, the competition is pretty tough, and this one just doesn’t measure up.

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