Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Case of the Deceiving Don: Review

Much like another reviewer on Goodreads, I first got interested in this one because I thought perhaps the "don" in the title referred to a British academic (and you know how I love me an academic mystery). But it winds up that we're talking Don like Don Corleone. Like the Mafia. Like messing with the "family." So, okay...I need this book for my Follow That Blurb Challenge--gotta go with this one or else I'll have to start the whole darn journey again. So, I brought it home from the library anyway. And, boy, am I glad I did.

Now this is the way books about private investigators ought to be written. It's fun and tongue-in-cheek, with just enough of the hard-boiled patter to make it right. (After all, our hero uses Chandler and Hammett and all the rest as his PI handbooks.) PI Sean Sean (yes, that's his name) is a not-so-hard-boiled detective operating in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. He may not be tall, but he's got a big heart and is willing to go the extra mile when a case interests him (or when someone needs the help). He wears red Keds and rarely packs heat. He's just starting to figure out the mysteries of computers and the internet and hasn't quite talked himself into a cell phone yet. He's a gumshoe just beginning to burst into the 21st century.

The book begins with a bang--quite literally. As Sean is making his way home one evening, he comes upon a murder scene. An elderly patient of the local nursing home was out for a regular trip around the block when his wheelchair exploded--directly across from Sean's home. At first, Sean is interested merely because of the proximity. But then a couple of large toughs hire him to investigate and his interest becomes professional. With the help of a feisty fellow resident of Sheltering Limbs (the nursing home), Sean soon discovers that there was more to the dearly departed than meets the eye. Not to mention some of the activities of the Director of the home. Things really get interesting when the FBI gets involved and then someone begins taking potshots at Sean. Is he getting too close? And just exactly who is getting skittish about that?

This is a delightful read. Fast-paced and smooth. It goes down like Sean says a single malt does (I'll have to take his word on that). Lots of action and interesting characters. I absolutely love Sean's interaction with Blanche, his contact in the nursing home. And Sean is a very likeable protagonist. I look forward to trying more of the series. Four stars.

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