Embracing an improbable stretch of sobriety, unlicensed P.I. Duck Darley has proven himself stronger than the temptations that loom in the shadows of New York City. But the familiar pull of self-destruction lingers like garbage in July when Layla Soto, a sharp-tongued Park Avenue teenager with a family as screwed up as his own, presents a twisted missing-persons case he can’t refuse . . .
Layla saw video evidence of her billionaire father being abducted from their home—at the top of the tallest residential tower on earth. She suspects her grandmother, a Chinese social climber on husband number three, orchestrated the act to silence her only son. Duck agrees to investigate the hedge funder’s disappearance, if only for the rush of a new thrill—and an excuse to reconcile with Cass Kimball, his leather-clad sometime partner who nearly got him killed . . .
As the unlikely duo become immersed in a high-stakes ransom linked to the international drug trade and the delicate relations between the two most powerful nations on earth, survival means trusting no one. Because when confronting absolute power, certain forces will stop at nothing to bury the truth.
Praise for the Duck Darley Mysteries
“Now and again a debut novel comes along that blows you out of the water. Charles Willeford is rarely mentioned much these days yet his Hoke Moseley series is among the classics of the genre. Casey is the rightful heir. The book sings in its sheer narrative momentum.”
—Ken Bruen, author of the Jack Taylor Series
“Casey Barrett should find himself in the big pool of crime writers with this deftly conceived, crisply written debut. It does for competitive swimming what Megan Abbott did for gymnastics, exposing the poison at the heart of a coach’s and a family’s need to win.”
—New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross
“Deliciously lascivious and violent, Under Water’s Vicodin fueled hero is impossible not to cheer on. The pull of his dark world will keep readers captivated to the last page.”
—Kyle Mills, New York Times bestselling author of Order to Kill
“This one has it all: mystery, suspense, secrets, and a longing for new adventure. It should be mandatory reading for all thriller aficionados.”
—New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry
“Barrett has created a series character in Duck Darley that rivals any detective or PI out there today: a bourbon‑drinking, fringe‑living antihero you'll find yourself rooting for despite his many flaws. I'm addicted . . .”
—USA Today bestselling author Charlie Donlea
“Olympic swimmer Barrett dives into the disturbing side of competitive sport in his savage thriller debut.”
“Barrett’s first-person narrative has a music of its own, and his alcoholic hero, just two drinks away from seeking his next fix, is appealingly vulnerable.”
“Duck Darley is a hero you’ll love to hate, but his self-reflection, intelligence, and tenacity to protect the weak make him an uncommon hero. Filled with excesses, narcissism, greed, and evil delivered with some New York swagger.”
—RT Book Reviews (4-stars)
"Chilling... an adventure spaced around disquisitions on the decline of civilization (especially the American part), the miseries and pleasures of alcohol and oxy addiction, and the otherworldliness of the superrich."--Booklist
"This one has sleeper-hit written all over it. Fast-paced and well-plotted, Barrett’s thriller is one of the most underrated books set to come out this month."--The Real Book Spy
“Suspenseful…Duck narrates with a voice right out of classic hardboiled noir, complete with existential ruminations on his self-destructive nature.”--Publishers Weekly