The Sweet Goodbye
reviewed by Eric Ellis
When it comes to enjoying Rob Corbett’s crime novel The Sweet Goodbye, it is helpful to first realize rather than it being a page-flipping barn-burner, the novel is instead propelled forward by character development and a slow story revelation. Corbett then tells the story while allowing his characters to breathe and grow, which does pay off in the end.
In The Sweet Goodbye, Danny Barrett is an undercover FBI Special Agent. Barrett is from Detroit but has been stationed in Portland, Oregon, and is loaned to the FBI station in Maine due to his undercover skills.
Not only is Barrett with an uncanny undercover ability to blend in under almost any environment and befriend the most unlikely of all people, but he is also a skilled marker of forest trees for milling, which will play a vital part in his next investigation.
In Maine, the Leeds family has owned a logging company for generations. While under previous FBI scrutiny, a sudden massive capital infusion to the Leeds through an unknown source was discovered, leading to the ongoing investigation involving Barrett.
For his role in the undercover operation, Barrett has been hired to work for and infiltrate the logging company where these vast financial assets were discovered and attempt to discover their origin. Barrett then endears himself to his employers to further his investigation.
Barrett slowly learns this investigation is more dangerous and complex than first thought and mainly because of his unusual growing respect and affection for his main target, Travis Leeds. Barrett then enters a game of cat and mouse with not only Travis, but his wife as well. Along the way, Barrett is exposed to different layers of criminality filled with a variety of nasty criminals.
In alternating chapters with a focus on different characters, the story is slowly revealed while Corbett continues to flesh out the characters in a way that leads to a satisfying ending.
The Sweet Goodbye could best be described as a slow-burn crime story that gains momentum the further one reads into the novel.
For this reader, because of the way the book was assembled with the alternating character chapters, it took about the mid-point before this novel started to really resonate. The Sweet Goodbye did end with a strong enough ending to create an interest to read other novels by this author and any follow-up novels involving the Danny Barrett character.
The Sweet Goodbye is recommended to readers that enjoy character development with plots.