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A Formula for Murder
Dave Vizard

Dave Vizard
August 9, 2012 / ISBN 978-0615682136

Reviewed by Dennis Collins

Nick Steele is the oldest reporter at the Bay City Blade in Bay City, Michigan. Although he's only forty-nine the younger guys refer to him as "The Fossil," a man bypassed by technology. Nick is given the seemingly menial task of writing an obituary for Robert Johnson, a popular high school principal who died of a sudden heart attack while enjoying a meal with his family. He responds to the snickering of the other reporters by saying that even though it's only an obit, his story will be "anything but ordinary."

When Nick stops by the victim's house to pick up a photograph of the deceased, he is struck by the beauty of Tanya, the man's older daughter and although he's twelve years her senior he feels an immediate attraction. It soon becomes obvious that the feeling is mutual.

While writing the obituary Nick remembers that George Pepadowski, the school superintendent suffered a similar fate a while back. Thinking that he might link the two stories as a human interest piece, Nick sets out to do a feature on just how much of a loss that these two community-minded men represents in the educational system. As he looks into their lives, Nick finds many shared traits and goals. He also uncovers the fact that both men were prominent in the school system when a student committed suicide after having an affair with one of the high school teachers. The teacher was never prosecuted because of a hush-up policy initiated by Charlie Joselyn, the school board president. The deeper Nick digs into the story, the more suspicious the deaths of the two school administrators becomes and evidence points to Josleyn as the next possible victim. But Joselyn is uncooperative and confrontational. He resents Nick's intrusion and uses his influence to try to get Nick fired.

The story twists and turns as it moves on with surprises lurking around every corner.

This is a great book spiked with just the right amount of humor with a little romance thrown in. Vizard, a former newspaper editor, knows how a newsroom works and paints a vivid picture that imbeds in your mind. Lots of stars on this one.

Reviewer & Columnist Dennis Collins is the author of Turn Left at September, The Unreal McCoy, The First Domino, and Nightmare
Reviewed 2012