The business of human resources is often fraught with personalities and unpopular decisions. The people that hold these positions must be diligent and knowledgeable, able to make good decisions, often at a moment’s notice.
In Smile Now, Cry Later by Paul McDonald, we meet one such individual. Chuck Restic is in the HR profession and often moonlights as a private detective. His personality is very passive-aggressive based off his real life persona. He uses his corporate skills to solve crimes, which he finds a bit more interesting than his actual corporate job.
His coworkers are often not as caring as he would like, and many of the conversations he has with those working within his company are uncomfortable, but usually necessary. There are sometimes those caught up in circumstances, yet still must be dealt with to keep the company above the law. Ed Vardaresian is one of those, a quiet unassuming man, yet he wears an excessive amount of cologne, which leads to the complaint filed. The accuser is noted for her complaints and the circumstances are those that make it necessary to deal with this issue in a timely manner.
What really creates Chuck’s concern is when Ed, an employee that never calls in sick, disappears not long after his conversation with him. Due to his perceived connection, Chuck determines that he will find out what is happening with the missing employee.
It is here that Chuck gets a dangerous surprise, for Ed is much more than a simple employee. He owns some property and has somehow come up against a billionaire real estate developer as well as the Armenian mob, and his disappearance is decidedly worrisome. His family has no answers and when Chuck digs deeper, he finds himself in danger, and that old friends may actually be enemies in his search for Ed. Can he find the answers before another body is found or has his meddling created a murder fest that is cavalcading out of bounds?
MacDonald has given us an interesting private investigator, one that seems unlikely at first glance but quickly wins your confidence. His background in HR is at times a boon, but in other areas a danger. He trusts often too quickly which makes him seem easy. But once he determines the truth, he is like a dog with a bone, digging to find the answers where ever they lead, regardless of the people involved.
The characters are interesting and the mystery is well set, leading the protagonist in directions that sometimes get very dizzying, yet he sticks with it and keeps you along with his wit and humor.
If you enjoy mystery and people you will find Chuck Restic in Smile Now, Cry Later, a great protagonist. This is a solid work for your library.[amazon asin=B00RYI7UOA&template=iframe image]