The Blue Kingfisher

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

The Blue Kingfisher is the 3rd book in the Kat Stone P.I. series by Erica Wright. Released 23th Oct 2018 by Polis books, it's 320 pages and available in hardback and ebook formats.

This is the third book in an established series with returning characters and a such, it doesn't work as well as a standalone book would. There's enough back-story included that I didn't feel lost, but neither did I engage with the characters as well as I would have if I'd read from the first book.  I don't really recommend jumping in in the middle. 

With that caveat, however, this is a well written and engaging book.  I absolutely loved Kat's friend Dolly and their mutual friend (and wigmaker) Vondya.  Kat's partner and protege in the P.I. business, Meeza, is very odd and I wonder about the overarching storyline development between them in future books.  Kat is described as very intelligent, with lots of street wisdom, but I often felt that she was bumbling from episode to episode. There are also a number of unresolved threads noticeably dangling at the end of the book. Not enough to really be annoying, but there.

The language is fairly rough and there are some graphically violent episodes. There is also a creepy scene with threatened sexual assault.

All in all a good, well written, readable P.I. thriller set in modern day New York. I did enjoy it and will give the earlier books a read-through before I make a decision whether to continue with the series.

Three and a half stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes
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The Blue Kingfisher is my first read about Kat Stone. She finds the body of her apartment building manager while out running. Police say suicide, but she disagrees. Kat conducts her own investigation. In addition, someone is after her, so she has to be very careful about all of this. Kat is a strong intelligent likeable character. The story moves at a good pace and is well written. It's twisty enough to keep you guessing until the end. Overall, it's a good crime fiction thriller. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the third Kat Stone mystery series. I have read the prior books in the series and found them all enjoyable and classic mysteries with great plots. I highly recommend this book which can be read as a stand alone. I appreciate how the author depicts such a strong capable woman character. 

In  this next in series Kat is out jogging along the Hudson river when she discovers the body of her apartment maintenance man dead.  As a person with a mysterious background herself that enables her to be a good investigator she jumps into her own investigation to find out how and why he died. She soon finds he was also a person of many mysteries and may have been involved in something that causes his own death.  He may have been involved in the smuggling of immigrants and other criminal activities. 

Kat is a woman with a multitude of disguises and numerous identities.  This is one of my favorite aspects of this series.  Kat's background is very mysterious,as  she used to be with NYPD working undercover, and there are  dangers from her past that keep her on edge and living a life under the radar as much as possible. 

The mystery takes her into the  art world and finds her infiltrating a deep sea company where she experiences many  sinister happenings.  This was such a fun part of the plot and very dark and mysterious. Soon she is on the right path and knows who the killer was and puts herself in terrible danger. 

I love this series and find each in series to get better and better. I enjoy the protagonist Kat as a strong smart independent woman with many secrets that surface during her investigations.  The author has a talent for writing a classic mystery and i enjoy her well crafted plots. Very well done to the author. 
Thank you for the ARC that does not influence my review or opinion . I look forward to the next in series .
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Full review to come.
I deeply apologize, but life is a handful lately and I'm using all my free time to read, not review. I hope everybody understands.
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The Blue Kingfisher by Erica Wright begins with private detective Kathleen Stone out for a jog on a foggy morning along the Hudson River. Her destination is Jeffrey's Hook Light, a place to clear her head because it brings back fond memories of her childhood bedroom, decorated in a The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge theme. What wouldn't have shown up in her little girl room is the dead body that she sees lying on the widow's walk of the lighthouse. 

What's worse? The body belongs to Tambo Campion, her apartment buildings maintenance man--quiet, kind, and hard-working, if not always timely. A jumper, the police think--but so out of character for the man Kate knew. (That, and Tambo missed the water a jumper would supposedly be aiming for.) And so begins her quest to find out the real story.

We learn a lot about Kate as she tries to uncover Tambo's story. As a cop she was a master of disguise and alter-egos, relying on Russian wig-maker Vondya and any number of personas to help her go incognito. She is Kat. Katya. Kacey. We know Kate once infiltrated drug lord Salvatore Magrelli's inner circle in an effort to bring him down, but that her cover was blown and she now uses disguises in an attempt to stay one step ahead of Magrelli's henchmen.

Kate also learns that Tambo was a "un martin pescador", a kingfisher--someone who found off-the-books jobs for immigrants. That a set of creepy looking masks line the walls of his bedroom. That the masks are a fertility totem. That a hidden compartment in each mask can hold a small blue pill. 

Could it be the masks that are the clue to Tambo's death? Or was it his job as a kingfisher dodging immigration officers that put him at risk? Or maybe--somehow--Magrelli and Tambo had crossed paths? Or are those tiny pills the key to his death? Kate gets a job at a Coney Island fishing tour boat company where Tambo secured jobs for illegals, hoping to get closer to the truth.  And in the manner of all whodunits, she does.

A testament to the strength of The Blue Kingfisher is that fact that, unbeknownst to me, the novel is actually the third Kat Stone novel--but it was compelling enough, with just enough backstory to stand on its own.

Truth be told, I think I'll go back and read the other two. No stale writing, no overblown tropes--Erica Wright's The Blue Kingfisher fits the bill.
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Readers were first introduced to Kat Stone and her detecting techniques in The Red Chameleon (Kat Stone #1). Her disguises serve her well.

As a private investigator, Kathleen Stone relies on her ability to blend into the background. Aided by her street-smart drag queen friend and the best wigmaker in New York City, she feels confident that her camouflage is up to snuff.

Kat is a solitary soul who craves privacy. Waking early one April morning, she heads out to her special place, Jeffrey’s Point Lighthouse of The Little Red Lighthouse fame. Kat’s mother introduced her to the lighthouse under the “Great Gray Bridge,” aka George Washington Bridge, when she was a child, starting her lifetime love affair with the tiny lighthouse no taller than the trees in Fort Washington Park. Is it spring fever that has her heading out? Hardly. New Yorkers know better.

The calendar may have said spring, but it still felt like winter, another charming aspect of my hometown; she bullied spring, letting tulips emerge then snapping them with frost or sometimes a full-blown snowstorm. It happened every year, and yet the flowers would return, their optimism downright quixotic.

Kat can relate. When she worked for the New York Police Department she often felt useless, but now, she “rather liked solving cases as a private investigator.” Like spring in New York, Kat doesn’t have a “safety net, sure, but no boss either.” Erica Wright’s fictional PI lives in The Heights, a neighborhood immortalized by playwright Lin-Miranda Manuel. Kat’s deeply ensconced in the day-to-day lives of her friends and acquaintances, but she didn’t expect to see the body of someone she knows on top of the Little Red Lighthouse.

When Kat Stone, master-of-disguise private investigator, spots a dead body atop the Jeffrey’s Point Lighthouse one morning, she recognizes the man as her apartment building’s maintenance man, Tambo Campion, a French expat.

Was it a suicide gone awry? Kat is flooded with memories of Campion: she keeps seeing his “dead, caramel eyes.”

I couldn’t shake the feeling that rushing to declare his death a suicide was insensitive, but I was probably looking for trouble where there wasn’t any. It wouldn’t be the first time I stuck my hand in a mousetrap, and, eventually, we learn our lessons, right? After we lose a finger or two?

Kat explores lead after lead hoping to get to the truth behind Campion’s death. Tambo Campion was a highly unusual building supervisor: worldly, capable, unusually receptive to the requests of the varied tenants, always carrying himself with French élan. When the tenants gathered together as the news of Campion’s death spread, Kat notices some aimless teenage boys are frantic and upset: “I could only pick up a few words over the other conversations: ‘jobs’ and ‘money’ and ‘martín pescador.’” Even knowing that a pescador was a fisherman, Kat can’t translate the idiom. She asks an older Spanish-speaking woman for help.

“Un martín pescador,” Señora Amador finally responded. “A kingfisher. Like the bird. Someone who finds jobs for boys like them.”
She didn’t have to say “immigrants” for me to know what she meant. It was an immigrant building in an immigrant neighborhood, and I would always be an outsider with my American birth certificate and American job, never mind my family’s stories.

The immigrant experience, the lives of the nondocumented immigrants, the hardscrabble existence of Tambo Campion’s people—Kat looks to them for answers about Tambo’s inexplicable death. She makes an intrepid guide, dodging shoals and sharks (literally) as she doggedly pursues the truth, undeterred by red herrings and blind alleys.

Acting normal when your insides were soupy required a healthy dose of make-believe with a side of can-do spirit.

Make-believe, convincing make-up and wigs courtesy of her drag-queen friends, plus a New Yorker’s persistence—these are some of the tools in Kat Stone’s toolkit. Erica Wright’s The Blue Kingfisher is a gritty mystery that’s grounded in the reality of life in The Heights.
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Kat Stone, private investigator and ex-NYPD-detective, has been hiding from a drug lord who wants her dead for three years. In those years, she’s become adroit at disguising her identity. However, in the midst of a pity party near the Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse in Fort Washington Park, when she notices a body the walkway near the top of the lighthouse. After busting down the door to the lighthouse’s interior, she finds the dead body of her building’s maintenance man. She calls the police to the scene and they dismiss his death as a suicide-jumper from the nearby George Washington Bridge. Kat, however doesn’t believe that because most of the suicides from GW Bridge jump over the water. Her super had jumped over the rocks leading down to the water.

This book reads like the author took one of the old gumshoe PIs from the 1930s/1940s, changed his gender to female and modernized the location. The author tells her story with the same staccato voice as the classic detective stories. I think she was attempting to write a gritty noir mystery and misses the mark, but not by much.
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I got a copy of this book as an advance reader copy and neglected to do my research ahead of time. I prefer to read a series in order, and I haven't read the first two of the Kat Stone series, but The Blue Kingfisher definitely works as a stand-alone! Kat Stone is a private investigator and she feels compelled to look into the death of her apartment building's super. She doesn't believe the police department's assumption that it was a suicide, so she spends a great deal of her own time and effort trying to get to the bottom of it. She also has to watch her back, with a dangerous acquaintance looking for her. This story has plenty of twists and turns, and it's hard to know who Kat should trust at times. The conclusion made sense, though I never saw it coming. Overall, an intriguing read, and I'll be sure to read the first two books in this series to see what I missed before The Blue Kingfisher.
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This was my first introduction to the author Erica Wright. I went into this book blind about the character of Kat Stone. The tone of the book was very dark and there were times when I was intrigued with where the story was going, but unfortunately towards the end my interest was less piqued. I wasn’t satisfied with the ending and felt like something was missing. Thank you NetGalley and Polis Books for my advanced copy in an exchange for an honest review.
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The third Kat Stone mystery was very intriguing. I have not read any of the others.   It was a fascinating read.  the characters are well developed. I loved Kat Stone. I love her smart mouth and wit. 

Kat, a former NYPD undercover officer turned PI, is out for a walk along the Hudson River one morning when she spots a body atop the Jeffrey’s Point Lighthouse below the George Washington Bridge. She recognizes the victim as her apartment building’s maintenance man, Tambo Campion. The police rule the death a suicide, but Stone doubts this assessment. She soon learns that Campion, one of the few Frenchmen in her predominantly Dominican neighborhood, was a kingfisher, someone who finds jobs for immigrants. But that’s not the only way he augmented his income. Complicating her task is a local drug lord with a grudge against her.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Polis Books for this partnership.

I was immediately attracted by the cover we see a red lighthouse in the night.

We find Kat private detective who has the art of dressing up.She will discover a body that the NYPD will think of suicide. She will investigate undercover trying to find the murderer.

A captivating thriller filled with suspense and twists with the endearing character of Kat. I love the pen of this author who is addictive. Look forward to reading another of his books.
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★ ★ ★ 1/2 (rounded up)
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
So, Kat Stone, private investigator, is trying something new -- she's being herself. No disguise, no wig, no fake name (well, most of the time). There's no need, the person she was hiding from has found her. He hasn't done anything about it -- but there's no need to go to extra effort. But she's not used to just being Kat Stone anymore -- and that's going to take a little work.

One morning, Kat finds a body -- a body in horrible shape in the shadow of the George Washington Bridge. While waiting for the police, she recognizes the body -- the maintenance man from her apartment building, Tambo Campion. The police are quick to dismiss the death as a suicide, but Kat's unconvinced. Why would someone trying to kill themselves miss the water so completely?

This, of course, isn't enough. So she ignores paying customers for a bit to launch her own investigation, trying to find more evidence. She doesn't necessarily have to find the murderer, she just needs more evidence to get anyone in the NYPD to take her seriously enough to investigate his death. She plunges into Tambo's life -- partially driven by guilt that she didn't pay him enough attention in life. It turns out that Tambo is a kingfisher, someone who finds jobs for people who aren't in the country legally or who are wanting to stay off-the-radar, for a fee. This alone provides several avenues of investigation. But there are others, too, don't get me wrong. All of these take her into all sorts of corners of NYC society -- and gives her an excuse to dabble in different identities.

The NYPD requirement of "more evidence" is a trigger of sorts for her. It reminds her of the constant refrain from her superiors during her undercover days at the NYPD. They always wanted more evidence -- even when she becomes concerned for her own safety, they say she hasn't done enough, she needs more evidence to bring down Salvatore Magrelli. Between the Magrelli knowing where she is now, and this requirement, Kat spends a lot of time ruminating on the times she felt most threatened by Magrelli -- and the things she didn't provide enough evidence on. While she has several other things going on in her life, these are the thoughts that dominate her attention.

As interesting as the murder case is, obviously, it's the Magrelli (past and present) stories that provide the major emotional hook for this novel. Even while she's meeting with success at Kat Stone, even when she finds evidence of a crime -- multiple crimes, actually. She can't get out of the shadow of her past or the threat of the present.

I failed to get around to reading the first book in this series, after reading The Granite Moth, which really bugs me, so I can't really comment between the ties between it and this book, but I'm reasonably certain there are some. Characters from The Granite Moth show up here and events from it are discussed as well, which is always nice, too many PI novels ignore what happened before. I don't know (but I can't imagine) that too many people from The Blue Kingfisher will show up down the road, but I'll be happy to see any of them that do. But several events from this book will show up soon.

I remembered liking Kat Stone - I didn't remember how much or why I did, and I'm very glad I got to rediscover her. Kat is clever, very clever when she's not distracted. She's resourceful. She may not have the skills of Lori Anderson or even Charlie Fox when it comes to weapons or hand-to-hand, but she's got a mental toughness that's hard to beat. And I really hope to see how she moves forward -- because there's just no way that what comes next is going to look too much like what's come before, and I'm very curious about that. The New York she travels in isn't the one I'm used to seeing (it's not so different that I don't recognize it) in Crime Fiction, and the way she sees the world is a fresh perspective.

The writing in this one -- and this is not a knock on The Granite Moth -- feels more disciplined, the plot more controlled. I took it as a sign of growth, that whatever Wright intended to accomplish in this book was clear to her and she executed things to that end. I'm almost more curious about what she'll do next than what Kat will do next. Almost.

This isn't a criticism, this is more of a wonderment: There is a lot of time spent on Kat's affection for New York City. Do people spend a lot of time doing that, really? Thinking about how much they love/appreciate the town they live in (assuming they do)? Her leaving town was brought up once -- indirectly -- but it wasn't like anyone was really suggesting that to her -- and even after she made it clear that it wouldn't happen, there it is again, her love for NYC. I could see it fitting in if people were actively trying to get her to move, or if she'd just returned after some time away (on a job, in self-appointed exile, etc.) -- but given her situation, it felt forced. Now, I liked the way she expressed it, and I can understand her affection (theoretically, anyway, I've never been there). It just seemed out-of-place and/or unnecessary.

This is a good, satisfying PI novel with a protagonist that you will definitely enjoy. Like its predecessor, it's a decent jumping on point for a new reader, and a welcome return to the world for someone who's met Kat before. I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in this series already.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Polis Books via NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to both for this.
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Unfortunately it wasn't my cup of tea. There're some enjoyable and fun to read parts and other that fall flat.
There's a lot of potential but it fails to deliver.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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When I chose to read this thriller, I didn't realise that I would find myself in the middle of an established series featuring snarky PI, Kathleen 'Kat' Stone. Set in New York, Kat is a woman with a multitude of disguises, essential to her safety, and numerous identities. In this dark and gritty story, it all begins with Kat seeing a dead man on Jeffrey's Point Lighthouse. What's more, she knows the dead man, French expat Tambio Campion, the maintenance guy in her apartment building. The police deem his death to be suicide, but Kat is not convinced that this is so. As she delves into the life of Tambio Campion, it soon becomes clear that this is a man with secrets and hidden sidelines involving immigrants. Kat's background is rather opaque and mysterious, she used to be with NYPD working undercover, and there are obvious dangers from her past that necessitate caution in the present.

Facing numerous obstacles, a positively obstructive police, being attacked and more, Kat is going to have to rely on her network of cohorts and friends to get to the bottom of this case. It takes her surprisingly into the art world and finds her infiltrating a deep sea company, experiencing adventures and sinister happenings as she begins to edge closer to the truth. Perhaps because I had missed Kat's other outings, I probably did not get as much out of this reading experience, I could have done with knowing more about her history. With its wide cast of characters, I did enjoy aspects of the novel and found it entertaining, but it failed to grip me as a whole. Other readers might enjoy this far more than me. Many thanks to Polis Books for an ARC.
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WOWW I loved it! The first time I have read any of Erica Wright's books and I am looking forward to reading more! The characters truly came alive and her writing style is amazing.
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This is book 3 in this series and I'd recommend reading the other two first. It's hard to understand the main character, Kathryn Stone, without understanding her past. 

The Blue Kingfisher is also a dark and gritty mystery. It was a bit more graphic than I was expecting and I found the story challenging to follow at points. Ms. Wright is a competent writer.

Many thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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I had a hard time getting into this book. I felt confused as to what was going on at times. One of the more interesting parts was when she went overboard. It just wasn’t for me
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When Katya Lincoln discovers a body at the Fort Washington lighthouse, you sense that this is not the only crime event she will face. As the Blue Kingfisher unfolds we are shown to be correct. Katya - or is it Kat or Kitty or Kathleen- encounters drug smuggling, personal physical assaults, police harassment, break-ins, death threats, and murders. Compounding the current issues are past problems that are unresolved, Why did she resign from the NYPD? Why is she in “hiding”? Why does she use aliases? 
Luckily, Kathleen Stone (real name) has friends and allies who provide assistance to see her through her perilous time. We are left with the hint that there is more to come in a future novel.
Blue Kingfisher is a story of crime and the effects of crime. While it is well developed and hangs together, I would recommend reading the prior books to gain a better understanding of Kathleen’s past and how it influences her current situation. 
I received an advance copy of this book from Netgalley. My review of this book was unbiased. 
#netgalley #bluekingfisher
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The Blue Kingfisher by author Erica Wright is book three in the Kat Stone PI mysteries. Kat Stone is more of a broody and low-key type of PI who uses many disguises not only for the investigations but for her own safety from the notorious Salvatore or the Costas. I really like her sarcasm or cynicism in the observances of the people she comes in contact with during the course of her days. One morning as Kat is walking in the Fort Washington Park heading to the lighthouse, she discovers a body, which she realizes is Tambo the superintendent of her building! The police rule it as a suicide, but Kat sees clues to indicate it could be a murder. 
I won't post spoilers, but, but the plot is interesting and the characters she meets while investigating Tambo's death seem to be on the fringe with hidden motives. What was Tambo's real reason for being in the mostly Dominican community, was he a martin Pescador? Her descriptive imagery of the art masks in Timbo's apartment had me sketching!

Publication Date October 19, 2018
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Ms. Wright's character, Kathleen Stone (or whoever she may be at the time), stumbles across a body in a very unlikely location... and she recognizes the individual. Soon, she becomes involved in solving his death, as well as staying ahead of those on her trail. The ending will have the reader's heart racing... all the way through the final sentence.
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