Oak Tree Press
July 5, 2011 / 978-1610090179
by Dennis Collins
is a Pulitzer nominated big city newspaper reporter. Who better
to send to conduct a reporting seminar to the staff of one of the
struggling smaller papers in that chain? The only problem is the
satellite paper is based in Malone’s old hometown, a place
he promised he’d never return to. Still, an assignment is
an assignment so he grudgingly complied.
the small town of Flatville, Michigan seemed to be headed downhill
from the moment Malone arrived. A couple of young reporters apparently
resented Malone’s presence and harassed him right from the
beginning by saying there were no newsworthy stories to be written
in Flatville. After a somewhat hostile exchange Malone accepted
the challenge saying he would find one within a matter of days.
Malone wouldn’t have to look far… the story found him.
evening Malone nursed a beer at a local tavern. A large party in
progress turned out to be Malone’s high school reunion. He
ran into the school’s old homecoming queen, who seemed as
beautiful and charming as he remembered, but he also encountered
a couple of his old high school nemeses, two of the reasons he had
vowed to never return to Flatville.
morning the homecoming queen was found murdered and Malone became
the prime suspect. He fortunately had at least one ally in town,
who lined him up with a capable attorney to help keep him out of
jail unless formal charges were filed. Then swift small town justice
took over and Malone was charged with murder despite the lack of
any evidence. It smelled like a set up. Who was behind it?
Gager has a background in news reporting and it shows through in
this novel. The short chapters keep the pace at a high level and
every paragraph contains important information. The story never
drags. The red herrings are there in such a subtle way it doesn’t
leave the reader feeling betrayed. It has a good surprise ending.
This is one of the best mysteries I’ve read lately.