Rick Cahill

Created by Matt Coyle

Ex-cop RICK CAHILL left the Santa Barbara police force under a cloud — he was suspected of being involved somehow in his wife’s death eight years earlier… but nobody could ever prove it.

Now he’s a La Jolla restauranteur, managing Muldoon’s Steak House and living in nearby San Diego, trying to keep his head down and his nose out of trouble, doing a little low-key private investigative work on the side (mostly catching adulterers on film). But when potential love interest Melody Malana, a sexy local TV reporter, gets arrested for murder and asks him for help, he reluctantly gets drawn into the investigation in Yesterday’s Echo (2013), a promising new debut novel by Matt Coyle.

And that promise was more than delivered. So far they have been several strong, solid sequels and they’re all stellar — darkly vivid, hard-boiled fare that digs into the soft white underbelly of southern California life in all the best of the worst ways, tempered by an all-too-human protagonist you just can’t help rooting for, even when you want to smack him on the head.

That’s how relatable Rick is. I swear, if he was your buddy, it would be like, “Come on, Rick! You’ve got a decent life! The restaurant’s doing well. Why do you insist on fucking around with all this other Chandler crap?”

I’m not quite sure what Rick’s answer would be, but I’m glad he does insist. And so are a lot of readers, as well as his peers. He’s a frequent Shamus finalist, and he finally won for Best P.I. Novel–two years in a row (!), for Lost Tomorrows (2019) and Blind Vigil (2020).

But Blind Vigil is really something special. It starts off with Matt alone in bed, still blinded from being shot in the face, possibly forever, feeling the cold place where his lover once slept. And summing it up in a sentence that may be one of the most heartbreaking I’ve read in years.

“The only time I saw clearly now was in my dreams.”


Matt has a degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has worked in the restaurant, golf, and sports collectible businesses. He claims that when he was fourteen his father gave him The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler. Which may explain a lot. He lives in San Diego with his yellow Lab, Angus.


  • “Coyle knows the secret: digging into a crime means digging into the past. Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s dangerous—always it’s entertaining.”
    — Michael Connelly
  • “Hard, tough, humane—Night Tremors is outstanding.”
    — Robert Crais
  • “Sharp, suspenseful, and poignant, Lost Tomorrows hits like a breaking wave and pulls readers into its relentless undertow. Matt Coyle is at the top of his game.”
    — Meg Gardiner
  • “(Blind Vigil is) emotionally wrenching and haunting . . . a visceral tour de force of the PI tradition.”
    — T. Jefferson Parker
  • Blind Vigil is a masterful blend of hard-boiled, noirish, slow-burning, yet fast-paced storytelling, proving—once again—that Matt Coyle has earned his place as one of the great authors of classic PI fiction.”
    — Robin Burcell




  • July 30, 2021
    THE BOTTOM LINE: Usedta be a cop, usedta own a restaurant, usedta to be nominated for Shamuses. Now he wins ‘em. Imagine Marlowe running a steak house…
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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