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Drink the Tea (Willis Gidney #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  150 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Willis Gidney is a born liar and rip-off artist, an expert at the scam. Growing up without parents or a home, by age twelve he is a successful young man, running his own small empire, until he meets Shadrack Davies. That's Captain Shadrack Davies, of the D.C. Police. Davies wants to reform Gidney and becomes his foster father. Though he tries not to, Gidney learns a small ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Minotaur Books
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Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Thomas Kaufman
Drink the Tea (Minotaur 2010) introduces Willis Gidney, a smart-mouthed former foster child and scam-artist, now trying to establish himself as a private investigator in Washington, DC. Steps Jackson, a jazz saxophonist, asks Willis to find the grown daughter he just discovered existed. The only clue is that someone overheard someone mentioning that he went to school with Steps Jackson’s daughter. Willis doesn’t even have a name, but Steps is fairly sure when the child would have b
Albert Riehle
Apr 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Not bad. What this book lacks in pace and suspense it makes up for in complexity which is sometimes a good thing and at others just adds to what weighs this one down.

In the end it's a good enough read but a REALLY stupid choice by an otherwise smart character to set up the climax may leave you shaking your head to hard to recommend it to others.
Mar 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Kaufman's first mystery introducing P.I. Willis Gidney, a Washington, D.C. locale and inside-the-beltway feel. Gidney is a great character in the wise-cracking hard-boiled mold. I enjoyed the book and look forward to sequels, but I did find the plot a bit too convoluted and improbable.
Andy Plonka
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: src
The main protagonist has too many incompatible characteristics in his personality rendering himself unbelievable beyond willing suspension of disbelief and he works way too hard in trying to be amusing as to make him irritating.
Apr 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
PROTAGONIST: Willis Gidney, PI
SETTING: Washington, DC

It isn’t often that someone who is a product of the streets and who has spent a chunk of his youth in the juvenile justice system is able to become a productive, law-abiding citizen. Willis Gidney spent his early years bouncing around between foster homes where he would deliberately misbehave so that he could go back to where he really felt he really belonged, the youth incarceration center where he could work scams with h
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I'll read pretty much any crime novel about my hometown of Washington, D.C. -- heck I'll read just about any contemporary fiction about D.C. So, it was a no-brainer for me to pick up this debut, featuring a struggling D.C. private eye in his mid-30s. Willis Gidney grew up rough, in and out of foster homes and city-run orphanages, and he still bears the scars of those years. Now, he ekes out a living serving papers and spying on cheating husbands and wives. However, one evening, he sits down for ...more
Debbi Mack
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
Willis Gidney is a man who started life off on the wrong foot. He was raised in the Washington, D.C. area – the product of years in foster homes and detention centers, as well as the subject of juvenile proceedings as an "at risk" youth. (Unsure of his real identity, he acquired his name from two cops who arrested him.) When the story starts, Gidney is an adult and a private eye, who walks the mean streets where he once ran.

Gidney is hired by jazz musician Steps Jackson to find his missing daugh
Giovanni Gelati
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Kaufman - Drink the Tea

I found the writer Thomas Kaufman through Facebook. He was nice enough to friend me and I thought, hey why not give his book a try. I enjoy finding new things to read out of my “core circle “of novelists. Kaufman intrigued me. His debut novel,”Drink the Tea” won a PWA Best First Private Eye novel competition. It’s an unusual title for a mystery with a new and unusual P.I.; so I figured what do I have to lose? I got my hands on it went for a wild ride.
I had the cha
Apr 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Willis Gidney is a private investigator. If you had told Gidney that he would some day become a PI, he would have laughed in your face. Gidney came from the streets of Washington; D.C. Gidney was a con artist and liar. That all changed when Gidney was taken in by Police Captain Shadrack Davies. Captain Davies helped show Gidney the straight and narrow path. Of course, you can never truly rid Gidney of his old ways. .

Steps Jackson is a famous Jazz saxophonist. He is also a good friend of Gidney’
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Thomas Kaufman has created an interesting detective. Willis Gidney grew up on the hard streets of Washington DC. He didn't have many good influences on him, but he did okay for himself. He works part time at polka record store while trying to get his PI career off the ground. Most of his cases have been spying on cheating husbands so far. He just needs one big case to bust him out of his life. Steps Jackson's case should have been anything but that. Jackson just found out that he might have a da ...more
Lisa Henderson
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thomas Kaufman creates a delectable new character with PI Willis Gidney - a pretty tough guy with a pretty tough background. Gidney grew up in a brutal foster care system and has the scars, physical and emotional, to show for it. In flashbacks, the author provides valuable glimpses into what shaped Willis to be the man he is today. The story focuses on a case that Willis takes on to help his friend locate his long-lost daughter. As Gidney delves deeper into her disappearance, it's very clear ear ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
In creating a gumshoe hero it's difficult to make them stand out. Thomas Kaufman has managed to find in Willis Gidney a scam artist and born con man. A child of the streets, he was taken under the wing of a D.C. police captain who becomes his foster father and gives him a crash course in ethics. Now a private eye, Gidney is hired by his close friend Steps Jackson to find his missing daughter. Never mind that she left 25 years ago; Steps wants to see her again and Gidney cannot say no. In the cou ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a debut PI mystery for Kaufman. Willis Gidney is the main character/PI with a past of growing up a homeless and parentless child through the DC juvenile system. Kaufman weaves Gidney's interesting back-story through the main storyline, Gidney trying to find an until recently unknown daughter of a friend. I really liked the characters in this book, always a must for any good book for me. The plot gets rather convoluted and at times maybe unnecessarily so, but it is a good ride, interestin ...more
Apr 12, 2010 rated it liked it
Odd mystery; first novel. Willis Gidney, orphaned and brought up in foster homes and an orphanage, is befriended by a policeman who brings him home. Situation doesn't work out, policeman is killed and Willis always feels badly. Now he's a PI who's sent in search of the missing daughter of Steps Jackson, but he actually lands in a larger investigation with a multinational corporation using a congressman to scare Americans, get rid of other congressman, and raise hemp [drugs:] on superfund cleanup ...more
Apr 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Kaufman has a very pleasant and unique voice - hard-boiled and funny. DC is very well depicted, a blend of actual locations and fictitious ones that would fit right in. Gidney's evolution as a private detective and a grownup parallel nicely the mystery plot that involves politics, sex, and families. He juggles all the strands nicely and what emerges is a quality image of DC worthy of a great cinematographer (which Tom just happens to be).
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the back-and-forth between the PI story of Willis Gidney, and his rough background. Part of the appeal is Kaufman is a local author, and the story is set in the Washington, DC area; s, there were plenty of opportunities to recognize places that were mentioned. I had some problems with the frequent "issues" Willis mentions with a romantic interest, Lilly. They're clearly attracted, so I mean get over yourself with the fake protests!
Jan 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoy reading debut authors. Thomas Kaufman did a credible job of holding my interest throughout. The plot was not all that original but using the plot device of alternating between past and present supported why the protaganist, Willis Gidney, kept persevering when us mere mortals would have closed the case and gone on to other things. There is a lot of action, a great supporting cast of unforgettable characters, and hopefully a second book on its way.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the first in a new series set in DC, with an interesting detective - a white kid who grew up in the very rough juvie and foster care system in DC. The one foster parent who was ever decent to him was a black DC cop, who saw the kid's potential and tried to turn him around. The kid eventually goes through the police academy but can't hack it as a cop - so he becomes a private detective. Engaging storyline with interesting characters.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
This would be a good first book in a series, but so far, I don't see others listed. We are introduced to the main character, and given a bit of his juvenile delinquent history as the story evolves. Good setting in our nation's capital, and a wide range of supporting characters. It will leave you hoping for more and wondering what happened next.
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Not a bad story and no real problems with how it was written with one exception: I felt the author frequently wasn't sure where he was leading the reader. I don't have a problem being mislead but I don't like feeling the author is misleading himself at the same time. Perhaps his writing becomes more cohesive and polished in later books?
Glynis Wray
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
I met the author at ALA annual 2010. I enjoyed his book and talking to him. I'm looking forward to to the next Willis Gidney adventure. The PI has an intersting back story and upbringing and I liked how it wasn't your typical cop, turned lawyer, PI novel.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
I had just one word to descrine this book, I'd say it was implausable. I just didn't believe anything. Not in the main character, not in the motives of the side characters, nobody. He tried to do too much with too small a book so there wasn't nearly enough development.
May 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
I don't get the appeal of the book. It's gotten great reviews, but I'm wondering if it's supposed to be a spoof of a detective novel or what. The narrative is all over the place and the plot so far-fetched that I lost interest pretty quickly. The humor did not amuse me.

Not my cuppa tea.
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was ok

Wise-guy private eye crime fiction genre, others preferred. This book fell flat for me and I thought elements of the story and characters hit a false note. Readable, but I probably won't continue with this series.
Catherine Woodman
I enjoyed this book, although I found the switching between guardian and delinquent somewhat hard to follow at first. The story is a good one, somewhat unusual as well, and a good addition to the genre of murder mysteries and the writers who write them.
May 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
Pretty good private eye summer read.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Easy read. Takes place in DC so I enjoy that. A bit reminiscent of Robert Parker whom I dearly miss.
Bob Gray
Aug 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
looking forward to "Steal The Show"
The Book Studio
Watch Bethanne Patrick interview Thomas Kaufman about his new book Drink the Tea on The Book Studio.
Courtney Ellis
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
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