Sunday, July 29, 2012

Book Review - Dead in Red


Dead in Red: A Jeff Resnick Mystery

By: L. L. Bartlett
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: March 2011
ISBN: 978-1461010982
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: July 30, 2012

Baseball bats are known for bashing in brains, but in Jeff Resnick’s case, one actually bashed something in. He’d actually seen that bat coming at him when he was mugged, but the result was quite startling. It left him with an uncanny psychic ability, “bursts of insight” into the unknown. Simply touching a person or their possessions would bring him into their world and enabled him to have this freaky insight into things he’d sometimes rather not see. Jeff wasn’t exactly Magnum, P.I. living in a mansion, but rather at the mercy of his physician half-brother, Richard Alpert, living in an apartment above his garage.

Things could have been a lot worse, but he’d seen better days. Lots better. Jeff’s insight, along with the help of Richard, had almost snuffed out his brother’s life, but had solved the murder of that banker. It wasn’t exactly something that endeared him to Brenda Stanley, Richard’s significant other, but she loved him anyway. Jeff had to get out of his apartment so he got off his duff and snagged a job at The Whole Nine Yards. The sudden opening came up when Walt Kaplan, the previous bartender, was stabbed forty-six times and dumped near the Old Red Mill.

Walt’s cousin, Tom Link, was Jeff’s new boss. He knew about Jeff’s gift and wanted him to find the killer. Jeff and Richard headed to the roped off crime scene to see if he could get an impression, but it was an ugly one. Walt’s “milky eyes” were staring up at clouds he’d never see again. Jeff also saw a red stiletto shoe embellished with gaudy sequins. When he sat at Cyn Lennox’s desk to question her, he saw a face awash with fear and panic. He knew Walt had sat at the desk, but why? The cops pinned the murder on Craig Buchanan, some homeless guy. Jeff began envisioning a pair of bloodied hands with a “rivulet of scarlet cascading down a wrist.” Whose were they? His? Jeff had to find out because the killer was going to strike again ... soon.

This stunningly freakish paranormal P.I. mystery will keep the reader glued to the pages. I’ve read a couple of books in this series, but each one is a captivating stand-alone mystery. Jeff Resnick, along with his uncanny insight, quickly moves into the seedy underground world of drag queens, into bar brawls, and the mind of a murderer. The paranormal aspect of the investigation was so well outlined, it was almost believable. Nothing was spelled out, but rather came in flashes as they came to Jeff, sometimes in an unexpected manner. The mystery swirls into the far reaches of the mind, drawing the reader into the unknown ... the mind of a murderer. If you like your murder served up with a touch of the unknown, Jeff Resnick will take you there.

Quill says: Police procedurals have nothing over the paranormal and Jeff Resnick's ability to solve a murder!