Brookins Books LLC, July 2017
From the author—
A small group of investors has purchased lots on a mountain on the outskirts of Grand Lac in northern Idaho. One dark night one of the investors, Jack Ketchum, gets drunk, climbs aboard a large bulldozer and carves a raw track of destruction down the mountainside though the property of each of the other owners. Days later Ketchum is found dead in a ravine, a large-caliber bullet hole in his chest.
When a local day trader, young Sam Black, is jailed for the murder, his mother, Edie Black, calls her cousin for help. Marjorie Kane, ex-exotic dancer, enlists the aid of her partner, Alan Lockem. The pair are independent special investigators who specialize in solving unusual and sometimes strange cases.
The duo flies to Grand Lac to try to prove Sam innocent and catch the real killer. They quickly find themselves enmeshed in civic chicanery, corruption and other evils, which must be sorted out to save Sam from prison or worse.
Alan Lockem and Marjorie Kane are not your everyday couple (of a certain age) nor are they your everyday private consultants. Marjorie, in particular, has a less than boring past that has given her a rather different way of looking at things and that complements her partner’s more straightforward approach to life and the cases they take on. When Marjorie’s cousin, Edie, asks for their help, they don’t hesitate for long, mainly because it’s family.
Grand Lac is a vacation spot in the mountains of Idaho situated on a glacier lake, a beautiful area that has drawn the wealthy and the not so wealthy. Some of those on the more affluent side bought lots on Carson’s Mountain and built stunning homes but one of those homesteaders, Jack Ketchum, insisted on flouting the wishes and rights of his neighbors. Is that what got him killed? Certainly, the local law thinks so, but Marjorie and Alan begin to discover other possibilities that lead them to think the arrest of young Sam Black might have been a rush to judgement. Before all is said and done, the rough terrain and unsatisfied greed may just prove dangerous to a lot more people including our investigators.
I felt an immediate connection with this couple, not because I have anything in common with them but because they’re so charming and likeable and so very clever. The mystery itself is a good “thinker” with threads going in all different directions and, while I was not completely surprised by the denouement, the journey to get there was quite entertaining. I do think another round of edits should have been done as there were some noticeable construction flaws, such as occasional misnamed characters or misplaced words, but none of that kept me from enjoying Mr. Brookins‘ new sleuths and I hope to see more of this dynamic duo.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2018.