McCall & Company: Swollen Identity


Way-off Broadway actress and NYC PI Kate McCall had promised the police and the Assistant DA—her son—that she was all done investigating any damn thing in New York...

Meaning beautiful billionaire socialite Brooke Barrington says someone has stolen her identity, and the corporate assassin who murdered Kate’s father has shot the eyes out of the CEO of Superior Press...

Meaning McCall & Company is back in business...

Meaning Kate enlists the help of the eccentric tenants of her brownstone—the House of Emotional Tics—and her melodramatic acting troupe, the Schmidt and Parker Players...

Meaning things spiral hilariously and dangerously out of control...   

Meaning she is confronted by Brooke's demonic identical twin, Bailey, accosted by international counterfeiters, and arrested for impersonating a hooker...

Meaning will she stop Bailey from murdering Brooke?  Or will she stop Brooke from murdering Bailey?  Or will she figure out how to tell one from the other in time to survive the wrath of the Bulgarian mob men hired to protect the counterfeit cash?  And will she finally find her father’s killer?  

She might, but it's going to be a fast, fun, and furious ride.


Since this is the second in the McCall & Company series, it should come as no surprise that I read it second. Truth be told, it could have stood up independent of the previous read because the history, characters, etc. are all nicely re-established. Fans of deductive reasoning will have already determined that I enjoyed the first, Workman’s Complication, or I would not have read the second. Elementary.

However, I did not read the books back-to-back. It wasn’t because I needed a break from the style or story; it was because Leder’s books ARE a break! As I learned from his final words in my Kindle edition, this is by design. Leder doesn’t really want me to think too hard while I’m reading him. He wants me to snack on the trim chapters like kernels of popcorn or a swig them like a bottle of beer. To that end, he never gets heavy, never gets preachy, never seems to be hiding a deeper meaning in a metaphor or trying to pass me a subliminal message. Instead he’s trying to feed me an amuse bouche; a palete cleanser; refreshing and tasty without requiring the eyebrow furrowing concentration of, say, tasting a complex wine.

If we think about the way a chef might choose to put a palate cleanser between the tomato tartar and the sea bass, we can compare the McCall & Company books to sorbet Maybe instead of going right from a Delillo to, whatever, a biography, I want to lighten it up? I want an intelligent read with a page tuning storyline and imaginatively-hewn characters that won’t weigh me down. I want a book I can grab when I’ve got a little time, or maybe a lot of time (Fu doctor’s waiting room! [McCall in joke]), that allows me to just scoop out a few frosty spoonfuls! This is where Leder’s ‘tude fits perfectly into my life.

The book itself is powered by a fun plot - actually a pair of fun plots, running in harmonic-humming unison like the propellors that flank a small airplane’s fuselage - both of which are strong enough to command my interest. The lead character’s various quirks (boxing), hobbies (sort of; she fancies herself a professional actress, but her work seems restricted to a so-bad-they’re-good theater group, love life (hard to explain but in this book it’s a guy too much her junior and a woman or women too beautiful to resist even if one is straight) and neighbors, maintain the reader’s interest like a gardener would a millionaire’s lawn. I honestly don’t see any reason to reveal anything about the plot itself, because in a way, you don’t really read a McCall book because you’re intrigued by the plot line. This isn’t sci fi; this is playtime.

So, I am wholeheartedly recommending this book and its predecessor, but not as, I don’t know... a destination book. It is a vacation book in every sense of the word because not only is it a great book for that lodge/airplane/pooside read, it is a great vacation between more serious books.
— 5 Star Amazon Reader Review
Rich Leder is great. This book had to be read as soon as I finished the first one in the series because the characters are just too good! Imagine Lucy meets Stephanie Plum and pack it all in with many twists, laughs and surprises and you have one helluva great book. I can’t wait to read more.
— 5 Star Amazon Reader Review
You know a book is great when you can’t stand to leave it to go on social outings and you rush back to find out what’s next. Rich Leder is definitely going places with his writing. He’s THAT good! I’m anxiously awaiting his next book featuring P.I. Katie McCall. Swollen Identity is a well written book that is laugh out loud funny!
— 5 Star Amazon Reader Review
Great read. Looking forward to next in the series.
— 5 Star Amazon Reader Review
An entertaining read with strange, but wonderful characters. This series if full of twists and turns and I love every minute of it. I’m looking forward to the next!
— 5 Star Amazon Reader Review
If you like your mysteries with some smart humor, and an eclectic cast- these books are for you.
— 5 Star Goodreads Reader Review
A GREAT read—absolutely hilarious, super fast and funny with a surprise at every turn! Just like the first book, I didn’t want to put it down, and I didn’t. The characters were so real, I felt like I knew Kate and Fu and the rest of the crazy crew. The really fun part was keeping up with the twins. There was just no way to keep them straight. And then at the end, awesome. If you like Janet Evanovich and Carl Hiaasen, you’re going to love McCall & Company. I’m ready for the next one!
— Modular Media, 5-Star Review
I loved the first book in the series. Unforgettable characters that made me laugh out loud. The second book is just as funny, maybe funnier. I loved it, too. It was everything I hoped it would be. Can’t wait for the next one.
— Lee Lowrimore, 5-Star Review
A mind-bending romp. I dare you to figure this one out. And I double dare you not to laugh. Holy cow, this one blew me away. How does he do that? Wow.
— Dorothy Rankin, 5-Star Review
Super-fun book with lots of set ups and hilarious pay-offs and memorable characters I can’t wait to read about again.
— Lincoln Morris, 5-Star Review