Say Goodbye (A Reluctant Sleuth Mystery) by E J Rand
Deadly Ink Press, 2008 (ARE)
Crime Fiction (S/T); 216 pgs
Rating: (Good +)
First Sentence: If Norman Lyons had known he was going to die that morning, he would have worn different clothes.
Reason for Reading: I was offered this title to read and review for Front Street Reviews and decided to give it a try.
Comments: Author E J Rand does not mince words, his novel taking off at high speed from the very first page. Norman Lyons knew too much, and, as a result, ended up dead. Or so his wife suspects despite police conviction that his death was merely a tragic car accident. The grieving widow turns to her long time trusted neighbor, Gary Kemmerman, for help. Although reluctant, Gary decides to find out what he can for her. This may be just what Gary needs to help him out of his funk. Since the death of his own wife, he has going through the motions of living, just barely.
He wastes no time delving into the matter, using his connections in the police department to talk to the investigating officer and sharing a light dinner with the only eyewitness to the car crash. At the insistence of a friend, he meets with a former employee of the brokerage firm Norm Lyons worked for before his death. Merle Kingsley is a difficult man to get to, but he makes time for Gary, expecting that Gary, with his experience as a former crisis consultant, may be able to help him just as much as he can help Gary. After the meeting, Gary realizes the stakes are much higher than he could ever have anticipated.
Working closely with the authorities, his contacts and his friends, Gary quickly begins to unravel the plot that led to his friend’s death. Despite the danger he and his friends are facing, he begins to lose his heart to a woman whose own wounds are still healing from a bad relationship. More than just his life is on the line the more he uncovers, and he may end up risking everything the closer he gets to the truth.
Gary Kemmerman has had a difficult year, and amidst the trouble he encounters over the course of the book, he still maintains a cool head. He is both tenderhearted and thoughtful where it counts, and not afraid to step into the fray and put his life on the line. While some might say he is too perfect, it works well in this case. He was a refreshing character. Gary is surrounded by supportive friends who not only are willing to help in a pinch but look out for him as well. Becca especially stands out as a strong woman whose defenses make it difficult to trust just anyone. She has had a difficult life and overcome so much.
E J Rand has created a novel that is not only a hard-hitting thriller but one with a softer side as well. Murder and greed fill the pages of Say Goodbye, but so do friendship and love. His characters are well drawn and the story itself well worth reading. Although short in length, it packs a wallop, filled with exciting twists and turns that will leave the reader breathless by the end. Fortunately, this is the first in a series that definitely has my attention and will keep me coming back for more. Originally published at Front Street Reviews. © Wendy Runyon, 2008.
Be sure and visit the author's website for more information about his upcoming books and to learn a little more about him.