Every Hidden Fear: A Skeet Bannion Mystery by Linda Rodriguez (Minotaur Books, $26.99, 292 pages)
Linda Rodriguez is serving up her third installment in the Skeet Bannion mystery series set in the fictitious town of Brewster, Missouri located 12 miles outside of Kansas City. Rodriguez provides a smooth segue from her prior book. The narrator, Skeet Bannion, is chief of police at a local college after a distinguished career with the Kansas City Police Department. As in the past, Skeet is somewhat entangled with her former husband, Sam. Together they care for Skeet’s dad who is an aging ex-cop.
Brewster is changing as outsiders are pushing for the development of a shopping mall. The prospect of an invasion of the big box stores is terrifying to the local shop owners in the provincial town square. The charm and quaint atmosphere of Brewster is its main draw.
The plot of Every Hidden Fear is fine; however, the author becomes a bit repetitive with background information already provided within the text. Some editing would have made for a smoother read. Moreover, the anger seething inside Skeet is present almost too often. The lack of comic relief or a few warm and fuzzy moments makes this a lesser in entry in Rodriguez’ ongoing saga of Middle America.
Moriarty Returns a Letter: A Baker Street Mystery by Michael Robertson (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 263 pagesl $14.99, 272 pages)
Across the Atlantic Ocean in England the reader is treated to the fourth installment of the charming Baker Street series. The series features Crown Barrister Council Reggie Heath whose office is located at the historic 221B Baker Street address made famous by the Sherlock Holmes stories.
Heath is drawn into a murder mystery that ties to the abduction of his soon-to-be bride, movie star Laura Rankin. Laura is beautiful and clearly knows the value of a trustworthy and loyal man. She has chosen Reggie over the pompous publisher of a sensationalist news corporation – think Rupert Murdoch. Together, Reggie and Laura set out to the countryside for a quiet weekend.
The dialogue is clever and the scenes are cinematic. The reader is happily riding along on their adventure when mayhem, madness and trickery insinuate themselves into the picture. This tale moves along smoothly despite a few mishaps.
The real question for fans of Reggie and Laura is – will this be a case of “and they lived happily ever after”?
Review copies were provided by the publisher.
Moriarty Returns a Letter is available in both hardbound and trade paper versions.