Book #2 has much more life: a more interesting main character who has enough flaws and personality quirks to get us through more pages. Cody is an accident waiting to happen, as the old saying goes. In this case, the "accidents" include at least two murders, a bit of romance, and a lot of saying nasty things to unlikeable people. Cody does all the stuff I'd do if I weren't too polite. Except for the alcoholism--that's not one of my vices, thank God.
And there's also book #3--a totally different kind of mystery, involving identity issues, "who's your daddy," and the horrible experience of becoming an adult.