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End of the Line
A Parker Noble Mystery

by Mike Manno

     

When a bus reaches the end of the line, the driver is surprised to find that there is one passenger still on board.† Heís even more surprised to find that the passenger has a bullet hole in his head.† The dead man is identified as R. J. Butler, a former banker whose financial career ended suddenly when his name was linked to an embezzlement scandal.† Although R.J. was never implicated in the crime, there was plenty of suspicion and he was unceremoniously released.† His murder immediately draws attention to the still unanswered questions at his former place of employment.

The case is assigned to State Police Special Investigator Jerome "Stan" Stankowski. The Attorney Generalís office assigns Deputy Attorney General Parker Noble to assist and advise Stan in the probe.† Stan is less than thrilled to accept the eccentric and quirky Noble as a partner but orders are orders.

As they dig into the clues, dozens of possible motives pop up, each involving a new suspect and a new set of circumstances. Thereís the ex-wife who would like to remarry but her fiancť—a very connected mob figure—insists that her first marriage be annulled or that she be a widow so that they can have a traditional Catholic wedding. An annulment looks like a long shot.†Then thereís the current wife who is struggling with a drug addiction and seems to have an unhealthy relationship with her rehab counselor.†The cops canít lose sight of the embezzlement angle either.

Stanís efforts are further complicated by the appearance of Buffy Coyle, an old friend and not so secret admirer, who sees a chance to bolster her newspaper reporter career if she can get the scoop on solving the murder. Buffy is extremely tenacious and her efforts to assist the investigation add to Stanís frustration but seem to amuse Deputy Attorney General Noble.†In the meantime Stan finds himself trying to juggle his time between the murder case, his college final exams, and three pretty young women.

Author Mike Manno has been accused of throwing "red herrings" into his stories but I see the variety of possibilities and suspects as being very much like the questions many police investigators face in their daily routine. The circumstances in this story are quite plausible and they really make the reader scratch his head.† If youíre one of those people who like to figure out the ending by the time youíre half way through the book, be ready for a meaningful challenge because Mike Manno is not going to make it easy for you. Thumbs up for a solid book.

The Book

Five Star
June 16, 2010
Hardcover
978-1594148637
Mystery
More at Amazon.com
Excerpt
NOTE:

The Reviewer

Dennis Collins
Reviewed 2010
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 Myshelf.com's "Between the Pages" columnist, covering the mystery genre and related topics.
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