“Slaughterhouse Blues” by Nick Kolkowski is definitely an in your face book with two character, Bill and Fiona, good-bad guys, not the bad-bad guys that they take on in an all to brief effort to extract a fortune of gold, a sort of revenge reward for another deal gone bad. And that is the tone and background of the story—past bad deals gone wrong, narrow escapes in the here and now, and some improbable poundings that would have had Rocky Balboa throwing in the towel. It’s a good story. I like Fiona, but for the life of me, I can’t see why she schleps around with Bill. It’s a good story, not great, with a more or less single focus after the odd forays in the beginning. One which was background; one that I knew was a trap to begin with. Still, it was written well and would be worth a lukewarm 4 rating if that was the end of the story.
But…I’m getting more into the story and at 62% of the way through the e-reader, the story just ends. Then comes a lengthy promotional pitch. And then comes the teasers for not one, not two, but three other books. I felt suckered. The whole package is now a deflated 3.
Tried a witch cozy, “Mojitos & Murder,” just for the heck of it. That won’t happen again soon. While the writing is fine, the depth of the story and the characters just isn’t there. I suppose that is okay if you have an hour to waste, but I like my cozies, with a bit more heft than what was presented here. Okay, she’s an out-of-place witch, a suspect in a murder, and assisted by an alien (really?). The story just pops along so much so that it is hard to deal with the jumps. And why is it up to her to solve the mystery? What was the sheriff doing all this time? And did they or did they not help the cat out? He seemed to get lost in the plot line along the way. And in the end…no, I won’t give that a way. It’s silly fluff, and sometimes that’s all someone needs or wants, but it had a lot of room for improvement even as silly fluff. An average read, a three.
I asked for suggestions, and I got “The Drowning.” I liked the story, but I felt after the inciting incident, it kind of muddled along for a while. And I was not prepared for all the Point-of-View (POV) characters. There were, at least, eleven in the story, and some were one and done minor characters. The saving grace was that they were fleshed out as real-world people you could identify with and understand. Still, I feel the book was a bit bloated, and like the initial investigation into the disappearance of Magnus, waffling for direction early on. I also wanted to scream investigative tips to the supposedly competent cops.
On the plus side, it was an engaging plot, with satisfying twists. The main characters had to deal with real world problems. Superman didn’t live in the area where the story took place. I liked that. The second half of the book came rushing at you like a runaway train toward a conclusion that was somewhat shocking. Hitchcock would have made this into a great movie. The tragic tagged-on ending seemed superfluous, and I’m not sure that I understand what the author’s intent was in doing it…sales pitch for the next book? Several of the chapter or scene endings were weak with the character suggesting they understand something without giving us the benefit of connecting the dots. Still, this is a top-notch mystery, but I can’t quite slap a five rating on it, but it is surely a top-shelf four star book.