Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Seattle Sleuth

Seattle Sleuth
Seattle Sleuth by Alexandra MacKenzie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I received a free eBook galley ARC from Rhemalda Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: It is 1921. A war lies behind him, a new battle lies ahead. Philip Shaw is a Great War veteran and widower struggling to put his life back together. He grasps at a chance to make a difference by investigating the death of a newspaper editor-did the man die in an accidental fire or was it murder? Shaw joins forces with fiery crime reporter Ray Taylor to dig into police corruption, a rivalry between a powerful shipbuilder and a sly politician, and the seedy world of Seattle's wide-open red-light district. Will they find the answers in the speakeasies, among the rumrunners on the waterfront, or at the mansions of the rich? Before they can solve the mystery, level-headed Phil Shaw and hot-tempered Ray Taylor will have to learn to work together-without killing each other first.

My Thoughts: What a fun story! Rhemalda has a great eye for terrific stories and I have yet to read a book published by them that wasn’t excellent. MacKenzie has a deft touch with description and narration to provide an easy-reading, fast-paced story that provides great character development and witty repartee. I would have liked to been given a more “period” feel to the story, set as it was at the very beginning of the Roaring 20s, right after the first World War; there was very little slang and the narrative felt very modern, except for the careful language maintained around ladies. But honestly, that didn’t take anything away from the story – I’ve read stuff that used bewildering amounts of slang to the point where it was difficult to understand, so I guess it is better for it to be accessible than making too much of an effort to make a point that this story is set in 1921.

I thought MacKenzie did a great job at providing internal dialogue for a veteran of a war, as well as the great twist in Ray Taylor’s history (which I won’t tell, so as to avoid spoilers), which added to the veracity of the time. I also loved the fact that she kept making a point of how different the financial times were – 50 cents was a lot of money and $2000 was a small fortune, whereas $5 was enough to survive on for a week or two. And payments on a brand-new Ford were $5 a month, which many people found to be too expensive. It’s rather mind-blowing looking at it from here, where the current lottery sits at $490 million! In some ways, it was a much simpler time; in others, it was likely much like it is today with elders bemoaning the lack of respect of the young and the degeneration of society.

But I’m digressing. My point is, I highly recommend this story to anyone who likes a good mystery, a good story and/or a good read. Wonderful book, and thanks to Rhemalda for the chance to read and review it.

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