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A Hard Ticket Home (Mac McKenzie Mysteries) Hardcover – May 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Mac McKenzie Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031232149X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312321499
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,484,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Housewright's first mystery series (for which he won an Edgar) about Holland Taylor, a former St. Paul cop who became a smart-talking private eye, trickled out after three books. His new series is about Rushmore McKenzie, a former St. Paul cop who becomes a smart-talking (albeit unlicensed) private eye. What makes them different? Not all that much. The earlier series was perhaps a bit harder-edged: Taylor left the force after he was accused of murdering the drunk driver who killed his wife and child, while McKenzie's motives for going private involve a sudden cash windfall when he captures a wanted swindler. And many chuckles are generated by McKenzie's first name (he was conceived on a trip to Mt. Rushmore), which is why he prefers to be called Mac. But basically McKenzie is the same kind of genial doofus his predecessor was, a true son of Spenser who tells us in great detail about every Pig's Eye beer he drinks and every opera record he plays. The author has a sharp, bouncy prose style, and his story—about Mac's search for a friend's long-missing daughter who can possibly be a bone marrow donor for her younger sister—has some touching and exciting moments. But Housewright has been shopping for interesting character traits at the same store for too long, and there's nothing here to show that a series about McKenzie will be any different—or any more successful—than the one about Taylor.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In a captivating opening sequence, St. Paul cop Rushmore McKenzie comes into some unexpected income, allowing him to retire from the force and leave the mean streets for a kinder, gentler tax bracket. But when the pro bono search for a runaway who may be a viable donor for her ailing little sister turns grisly, he brashly tangles with a savage serial killer and some nasty gangsters with unlimited ordnance. As Housewright churns the action, enlarging on Raymond Chandler's advice to "bring on a man with a gun," his hero is stretched a little thin between the decent fellow who feeds ducks and muses on his deceased dad's advice and the reckless vigilante with a taste for revenge--a lack of focus not offset by McKenzie's tiresome tendency to share his musical tastes at every turn. Still, many readers will find him more sympathetic than the lead of the author's Holland Taylor books, with enough of Travis McGee's stoic charm to make this a series worth watching. A good buy for larger mystery collections. David Wright
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

A reformed newspaper reporter and ad man, Housewright's book "Penance" (Foul Play Press) earned the 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated for a Shamus in the same category by the Private Eye Writers of America. He has won three Minnesota Book Awards for "Practice to Deceive" (1998), "Jelly's Gold" (2010) and "Curse of the Jade Lily" (2013). (His novels "Tin City," "The Taking of Libbie, SD," and "The Devil and the Diva" were also nominated for the same prize.) Housewright's 16th novel - "The Devil May Care" - will be published by St. Martin's Minotaur in June, 2014. He also has a volume of short stories called "Full House" available through Down and Out Books. All of his books are available on Kindle. Housewright was elected President of the Private Eye Writers of America in 2014. Website: www.davidhousewright.com. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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David's writing is superb.
Mapchief Dave
The action starts on page one of the prologue an doesn't end until the final page of the book.
tom4416
His writing style is wry and amsuing and the main character Mac is interesting.
J. M. Amor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on December 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been impressed with David Housewright's writing since his debut novel, Penance, appeared some years ago. From what I've heard elsewhere, I was one of the few who liked it, but that sort of thing has never bothered me in the past. He had one character there, an ex-cop named Holland Taylor, and he's started a second character here, another ex-cop named Rushmore "Mac" Mackenzie. Mac's a regular sort of guy, except that while a cop he managed to find an embezzler everyone else was looking for, and collect the reward for being the guy who tracked the fugitive down. This led to his being on the outs with his police department, so he quit. Now he occasionally helps people in trouble, though of course he's not a licensed investigator or anything.

In the current book, he's hired to find a woman who ran away from her parents just after she turned 18. They haven't seen her since, and her younger sister has developed leukemia. Neither of the parents are acceptable donors, but a daughter might be, so off Mac goes, looking for her. Soon, people are shooting at him, women coming on to him, and the dead bodies and confusing plot twists are piling up.

This is a very good mystery, perhaps Housewright's best. The plot's logical and everything connects. The suspects are all believable, the crimes are things that at least could happen, and the solution to everything is satisfying. I would recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Smokey VINE VOICE on June 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"A Hard Ticket Home" is the first of David Housewright's novels feature former St. Paul, Minnesota cop Rushmore "Mac" Mckenzie. In the series opener, Mac is looking for Jamie Carlson, who left home years previously, when she was 18. Jamie's parents want to find her primarily because their youngest daughter, Sarah, needs bone marrow transplant. Jamie may be a match and could save Sarah's life.

Mac is comfortable enough to help people for no fee, but just as he takes on the case his lover suggests they see other people because the people Mac deals with live too much "on the fringe". Unhappy at this turn in his personal life, Mac focuses on Jamie. After he finds her, bad things begin to happen all around, and Mac finds himself embroiled in gang shootings and other situations he never bargained for.

The explanation Jamie gives for leaving home and cutting all contact off with her family seems weak for such a strong reaction. In addition, the solution to who committed the crimes in the book seems a bit contrived. I thought the book could have been better if some of the minor characters had been more thoroughly developed.

However, I liked this book. I like Mac, and I will read more. I'm sorry I didn't start on the series sooner.

Three and a half stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Johnson on January 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As others have mentioned, this author should get more press and marketing than he does. His stories are different in such a good way. His characterizations are real, his sense of humor is tops and his stories have diversity. I would also like to thank Amazon for introducing me to this author. I liked the Holland Taylor stories and would like to see him trade off between the two. I would recommend reading just one of his books and you will be hooked...
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Having lately bemoaned the lack of strong, ethical-but-not-perfect protagonists, I've found one in McKenzie. When an embezzler offers him half the money, he chooses to quit the Force, turn the crook in and collect the reward money; he becomes angry at his best friend thinking of having an affair, and he berates himself in alphabetic order "Ass. Bastard. Creep..." This is a fast-moving book with excellent descriptions and dialogue, although a little weak on the secondary characters. But I was late for work because of not being able to put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed this and have ordered all this other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By tom4416 VINE VOICE on July 26, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was my first Housewrite book, it will not be my last. The action starts on page one of the prologue an doesn't end until the final page of the book. Murder, mayhem, beautiful women and a virtuous hero make for some very satisfying reading. Much more in depth than a Parker novel but with a character every bit as enjoyable. If you haven't discovered Housewrite, this is the first book in the Mckenzie series so a great starting point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ladyflier on April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't know how David Housewright has remained under my radar, but after reading his first MacKenzie book,it won't be the last. His main character is a wonderful protagonist. Tha plot kept me reading, not wanting to put the book down! Each time I thought I had it figured out, I was hit with a twist in the storyline...right to the last page. Any mystery reader will enjoy his book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Amor on January 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have just 'discovered' this author and am thouroughly hooked.

His writing style is wry and amsuing and the main character Mac is interesting. The characters are easy to follow and I like the thought processes and humor that is thrown in. Very clever.

I am really enjoying this author and can't wait to find more of his books.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Katz on October 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I loved the Holland Taylor books and a few years ago, I emailed David Housewright, wondering when the next would appear in print. I don't remember his exact response, but the gist was that his former publisher had lost interest in the series, and other publishers were reluctant to take on a series started by another house. This is an Edgar Award winning series! Oh, well...the plot summary of the fourth Holland Taylor book soon disappeared from his website, and now we have Rushmore Mackenzie, a new hero and a new publisher. Mac is a bit less hard bitten than Holland Taylor, perhaps, a little more optimistic in his outlook, a bit more vulnerable, but pretty much the same. Smart, determined and ready to give his all to right wrongs and pursue justice. There's always room for one more true blue American hero! An excellent debut.
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