Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Koenisha Publications
Release Date: 2003
ISBN: 0-9718758-8-X
Format Reviewed:
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Genre: Mystery
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Jeff Shelby
Reviewer Notes: Reviewer Jeff Shelby is the author of Dead Week.

The Disappearance of Jenna Drago
James Callahan Mystery, No. 2
By Al Blanchard 

     The opening pages of The Disappearance of Jenna Drago attempt to set the tone for the entire novel. A young girl is abducted after a brief, but tense chase, and author Al Blanchard has hooked the reader into his mystery. The payoff, however, is a little less satisfying.

     Retired Boston police officer James Callahan is attempting to start a new career as an artist when an old friend, Frank Drago, requests his help. The friend’s daughter is missing and he wants Callahan to find her. Callahan is reluctant, as he is still trying to shake the remnants of a similar episode with his own daughter. Despite his own reluctance and the objections of his wife, Callahan agrees to look for Jenna Drago.

     Blanchard does a nice job of setting up the premise and the plot provides a series of twists and turns that keep the reader interested. Callahan is a sympathetic protagonist and a well-crafted character, as real as any contemporary fictional hero in the mystery genre. His pal, B.J., is also a character that the reader can enjoy.

     The remainder of the story, though, doesn’t keep up with the pace of the opening pages. The dialogue is a little stiff, several of the minor characters seem too simple and the conclusion ends the story with more of a whimper than a bang. There is a nice twist at the end, that while not entirely surprising, is handled well and does tie up the story.

     The Disappearance of Jenna Drago may not be the best mystery novel out there right now, but the character of James Callahan is one that most mystery readers will enjoy and make the book worth spending an afternoon with.

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