How the Mighty Fall is a Gigi Mirabelli and Harry Burns mystery thriller that is rich in action, drama, and intrigue, which will delight fans of high-octane adventure. The events center around a missing yacht owner who apparently falls overboard during her own party, missing persons expert Gigi, who is recalled from maternity leave for this special, high-profile mystery, and Harry, a talented but psychologically tortured homicide detective whose career is on the ropes.
Part of the attraction of How the Mighty Fall lies in the interactions between these events and individuals: the story opens with a nursing mother's quiet time at home with her infant but quickly explodes into action with the ring of a phone and news that will pull Gigi from her infant's side. (It's a question whether even a chief of police can pull an officer from maternity leave, but the high-profile case demands unusual responses from authorities.)
The first chapter sets the scene of the party tragedy (and reveals that a murder has taken place - no surprises here), the second offers quick insights on Gigi's home and career lives, and the third chapter introduces Harry's role in the investigation. It's pleasing so see how quickly the main protagonists are created and explored, moving along to action which is compellingly complex as two disparate investigators must learn to work together in a case replete with high-profile media involvement.
Threads of ironic humor and angst permeate a story holding various personalities and conflicts, lots of moral and ethical conundrums, and a winding investigative process that keeps readers on their toes - all set against the backdrop of New York City.
The investigators are only human, and thus they come with their faults, including power-tripping plays and head-butting over procedure and undercover methods. The fact that readers don't always like the people being presented in How the Mighty Fall makes this a more realistic read than most mysteries, which tend to create overly simplistic, likeable protagonists. The investigators themselves argue with each other constantly over keeping an open mind and making connections between different cases, which also keeps readers involved.
Conflicts between career and personal life (on Gigi's part) are exceptionally well done, keeping the human element alive and well during the investigative process
As truths are exposed, offering surprises and insights to readers who may not have seen some of them coming, How the Mighty Fall evolves into a gripping saga that's hard to put down. All is not successful, in the end. For a 'turn of the screw' series of adventures and surprises, mystery and thriller audiences are in for a real treat with a story that is well-developed, filled with characters both likeable and annoyingly realistic, and packed with intrigue. Very highly recommended.