My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Detective Fiction

Detective Fiction (Murder Mystery)
By William Wells
Permanent Press
ISBN #978-1579624316
Price $28.00
224 Pages
Rating 3-Stars

“Excellent Writing.”

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A big city homicide detective retires to Florida, buys a bar, lives on a boat, and has a beautiful sexy woman jumping into his bed. The local police run into a murder they can’t solve, and naturally call on him to solve the case for them. I think everyone who retires to Florida decides to write a murder mystery and use that plot. I’m almost to the point of passing on any mystery set in Florida. Thankfully, this one does take a nice twist about half way into the novel, by the time I think I have it all figured out, and the plot moves in an unexpected direction.

Retired Chicago homicide detective Jack Starkey has moved to Florida, opened The Drunken Parrot bar, lives on his boat, where his girlfriend Marisa Fernandez de Lopez joins him most nights. His close pal, Clarence “cubby” Cullen, the local chief of police, is also a retired cop from another big city (New York, New Jersey, who cares?). He tells Jack that the police chief in Naples would like to speak with him. In Naples, Jack finds Wade Hansen, another ex-big city cop (I don’t pay any attention to the cities any more) working as the local police chief. He tells Jack the mayor wishes to hire him as an advisor on a case of suspicious deaths.

As a civilian advisor, Jack seems to have a free hand to do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, the story is slow, and we learn more about what millionaires and billionaires eat in Florida, while Jack drives around in fancy cars and looks good. An interesting side to the story is Jack’s friend, author Bill Stevens, who is turning Jack’s old cases into novels, with names changed of course. We are treated to Jack’s alter ego in the fiction novel as he works the case.

There was a nice twist about half way in the book, but all it did was remove one suspect. The writing was excellent, though the story moved at a terribly slow pace. Plus, the author makes some bad mistakes that jumped at me. His main character was a marine lieutenant, and we read this on Page 86: “I did a tour as an officer in the Marine Corps.” Now back on Page 17 we read: “…while all I got as a marine lieutenant were the usual sharpshooter’s and good conduct medals, plus a Purple Heart.”  Commissioned officers do not get the good conduct medal; it’s only given to enlisted men, and after a period of three years being good. With a tour in the marines (3 or 4 years, most likely), there is no mention of him serving as an enlisted man.

Spoiler alert. If you’re planning on reading this book, you should skip this paragraph. The villains of the novel are three millionaires (actually, one is a billionaire). Jack pairs up with a Russian Mafia boss (the first suspect), and they send two Russian triggermen after the bad guys. They kidnap the villains; carry them to a hideaway, where Jack uses his skill as a police interrogator to pry confessions out of them. Good job for a mere advisor, and we know their lawyers won’t sue the Naples police and government body for kidnapping and false imprisonment by the hired advisor and his Russian partner, don’t we? Then they set up the villains’ hit man, and one of the Russians blows his head off. This is all done with the authority of the mayor’s office and the police department. Oh, the villains walk with a stern warning not to have anyone else killed. I guess that’s to keep them from a lawsuit.

I’ve really been disappointed in some releases from Permanent Press lately. Some have left me cold, and it’s discouraging to read books like this. I can’t honestly recommend this one to mystery fans.

Tom Johnson

Detective Mystery Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment