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The Night Watchman
Ray Quinn Series, Book 1

by Mark Mynheir


Ray Quinn was forced into a disability retirement from his job as an Orlando, Florida homicide detective. An ambush left Ray with a bullet in his knee and his female partner dead on the sidewalk. The killer was never caught and now Ray is left with only the memory of Trish, his partner and lover, and the constant pain of the crippling wound.

He bides his time these days working as the night watchman in a condominium.

Things heat up when one of the tenants, the pastor of an inner city church, is found dead in his apartment along with a former stripper. A clear case of murder/suicide... or so the police think.

Pam, the sister of the deceased preacher, shows up to question Ray to see if he can put his finger on anything suspicious. She is absolutely positive that her brother couldnít have done what the detectives are claiming. Ray is impressed with her unwavering faith in her brotherís character and agrees to help her out. The more he looks into the situation, the more flaws he sees in the initial investigation.

Ray is assisted by his eager and sometimes impulsive night watchman partner, Crevis. What Crevis lacks in ability and worldliness, he makes up for in enthusiasm. Ray has to keep a tight rein on him.

Ray has some friends back at his old precinct, but he has some enemies as well. He needs to walk a very narrow line when trying to get information out of the police department. His biggest allies are Crevis and Pam and they both present their own challenges: Crevis with his zeal, and Pam with her constant preaching about the power of God. Ray is agnostic at best and sees religious faith as an escape from reality. He canít afford that. Ray finds his escape in a bottle of Jim Beam and a John Wayne movie. At least he understands those things.

To be honest, I didnít even realize that I was reading a Christian novel until I was almost to the end and noticed that there were a few terms being used that could just as easily have been cuss words. It was obvious, at that point, that the author was purposely avoiding profanity. Personally, I think he could have used some stronger words and still not crossed the line. It might have added a little more realism. The tale was as gritty as any mainstream, hard-boiled detective story.

The protagonist definitely has non-Christian viewpoints about everything and remains unswayed throughout the book.

Itís not an overly heavy book and is an easy read. Ray Quinn is a likeable character who is destined to return in future episodes. I just hope his knee gets better.

The Book

Multnomah Books / Random House
May 5, 2009
Christian mystery
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The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Dennis Collins is the author of The Unreal McCoy and the second installment in this series, Turn Left at September. He's also's "Between the Pages" columnist, covering the mystery genre and related topics.
© 2009