Rachel Vasquez & Clayton Guthrie
Created by Alaric Hunt

"You're a smart girl. You'll figure it out..."
--Clayton's ongoing advice to Rachel

One of my favourite odd couple P.I. teams of late is the Noo Yawk duo of height-challenged, middle-aged private eye CLAYTON GUTHRIE and his straight-outta-the-Lower East Side Puerto Rican apprentice RACHEL VASQUEZ, who's just out of high school.

It sounds gimmicky -- or maybe a little non-kosher, but Clayton's an honourable man, with about a zillion contacts, from the CIA to a family of homeless people, and a real gift for empathy, and Rachel, it turns out, is nobody's fool (imagine Nancy Drew with twin pistols). Despite an interfering family that still doesn't quite understand why she wants to work for Guthrie. Or what his intentions for their daughter really are...

Their debut, Cuts Through Bone (2013) is heavy on local colour, pulpy action and a breezy, slang-filled style that isn't afraid to strut. It nabbed the St. Martin's Press/PWA Award for Best First P.I. Novel.


  • After I had reviewed Cuts Through Bone for Mystery Scene, I discovered that the author is currently serving a life sentence in a South Carolina prison (I try to avoid reading about an author or other reviews until I write mine). Conincidentally I discovered this while reading other (mostly negative) reviews of the book, all of which felt obliged to mention the author's situation. I'm just sayin'...


Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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