ADDRESSES: Home—Sacramento, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
CAREER: Author and public servant. Member of child abduction and kidnapped child recovery team, Office of the District Attorney, Sacramento County, CA.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best First Private-Eye Mystery Contest winner, St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America, 2002, for The Sterling Inheritance.
The Sterling Inheritance, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Mike Siverling's debut novel, The Sterling Inheritance, introduces the unlikely motherson private investigator duo of Jason and Victoria Wilder. The confident and self-assured Victoria, a former police detective, runs the Midnight Detective Agency, where she keeps a busy slate of investigations going while providing work for her retiree buddies from the police force. Jason, a hopeful rock guitarist, works for his mom part time. Though he would rather be playing onstage somewhere, he is quite good at gumshoe work—and is, in some ways, carrying on the family tradition, since his father was also a police officer. The affectionately intrusive Victoria and the reluctant but brilliant Jason enjoy a genuinely loving, if sometimes high-strung, relationship.
When an unidentified man is found brutally murdered outside an old movie theater, police suspect the theater's co-owner, Anthony Sterling, of the deed. Sterling, however, is missing, and his beautiful Russian wife Katerina engages the Midnight Agency to find him. Jason finds him easily enough, even disarms him when he pulls a gun, but ends up in custody when the police arrive. Victoria's contacts on the force help clear up the problem. The nervous Sterling insisted he engaged in gunplay because someone was out to kill him—justifiable paranoia, it seems, as he is later found murdered. Jason takes on the investigation.
At first, Jason eyes a number of Sterling's Russian business associates as possible suspects, but other members of the Sterling clan think the murderer lies elsewhere. Anthony's father, Malcolm, insists that his rebellious daughter, Janice—Anthony's sister—is the culprit. As his investigation progresses, Jason finds himself more and more attracted to Janice and her daughter Angelique. He also becomes more and more willing to believe her version of events and her interpretation of the way things work in the Sterling family empire. That is, until Victoria steps in to keep the investigation—and her wayward son—on track.
Library Journal reviewer Rex E. Klett remarked that Siverling "uses the standard PI setup, dialog, and characterization with alacrity and panache" in the novel. "The tart narrative . . . has an appealing retro feel and clever solution," noted a Kirkus Reviews critic. Harriet Klausner, in a review The Sterling Inheritance for AllReaders.com, commented that "readers will enjoy this urban Noir with a host of delightful characters." A Publishers Weekly reviewer detected overtones of Raymond Chandler in the novel, but observed that Siverling "adds enough clever modern touches, especially in the relationship between Victoria and Jason, to make this look like the start of a promising series."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2004, review of The Sterling Inheritance, p. 425.
Library Journal, June 1, 2004, Rex E. Klett, review of The Sterling Inheritance, p. 106.
Publishers Weekly, May 17, 2004, review of The Sterling Inheritance, p. 36.