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Courting Murder Paperback – September 1, 2012
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Courting Murder is a promising series debut by judge-turned-novelist Bill Hopkins. Lively characters, a crafty plot, and an off-the-beaten-track setting in Missouri make for a good read. The protagonist--plagued by allergies, illness, and a cantankerous nature--is a humorous departure from the typical macho-man mystery hero. I'e got my eye on Courting Murder's Judge Rosswell Carew. --Deborah Sharp, author of the Mace Bauer Mysteries
Bill Hopkins' insider knowledge of life behind the bench shines through in this debut mystery. His unexpected hero takes readers on a twisting ride full of snappy dialogue, murder, and mayhem. --Jess Lourey, author of the Lefty-nominated Murder-by-Month Mysteries
The verdict is in: Courting Murder is a winner! In his entertaining debut mystery, Bill Hopkins transports us to Bollinger County, Missouri, where Judge Rosswell Carew and a cast of colorful characters track down missing bodies, drug dealers, and murderers using their wits and a few extra-large dollops of homespun charm. A fun read! --Alan Orloff, Agatha Award-nominated author of Diamonds for the Dead and the Last Laff Mystery series
About the Author
Bill Hopkins has been writing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays for over fifty years. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., the Missouri Writers' Guild, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Southeast Missouri Writers' Guild, and the Horror Writers Association. Bill, a member of the Missouri and Colorado bars, has served as a prosecuting attorney, administrative law judge, and an associate circuit judge. He's a graduate of the University of Missouri, University of Denver School of Law, and lives in Marble, Hill, Missouri, with his wife, Sharon.
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Top Customer Reviews
Firstly, it took me a long time to get into the book. I just had a hard time really WANTING to read it once I started it. It was a bit slow, the main character got on my nerves more often than not and I found myself trying to hurry and finish it to get it over with only to find that the ending is a cliffhanger. It's not that it was a bad story, it just didn't unfold in a manner that compelled the reader. I don't like unfinished business as a general rule, but I don't mind GOOD books that leave you hanging especially when the next book in the series is readily available. Maybe some of the things that nag me about this book will be revealed/developed in the next installment, but I am not invested enough in the story to find out.
Carew is a really interesting character – he’s a recovering alcoholic struggling with a leukemia diagnosis and carrying a huge load of guilt for the death of his wife and child. He’s secretly dating the police dispatcher, and one of his bffs is the town sheriff. Carew is assisted in his investigations by an ex con he once sentenced to jail. The sheriff keeps telling him to stay out of things, but the sheriff is short-handed and needs Carew’s skills to solve the murders.
This was a well-written, entertaining story with many complications and a good ending. I see there are four more in the series and I will be picking them up, and soon.
The dialogue is stilted and all of the characters seem to speak in the same voice. The conversations go on for so long without a "____ said" that I frequently found myself backtracking to figure out who was speaking --- and when everyone speaks exactly the same way, you almost need a "___ said" in every line.
The descriptions are vague and confusing --- I never got a feel for how the park was laid out, and exactly how was Candy tangled up in the IV lines at the hospital? It made no sense.
The only thing that was deeply descriptive was the sludgy coffee at the diner. The characters spent more time ingesting caffeine and (undescribed) food than they did thinking. Seriously. There'd be passing mention of the consumption of a cheeseburger, then a full page about the coffee, the coffee prep, and the coffee consistency. All that caffeine made none of the characters any smarter.
The plot moves at a glacial pace.
My abject apologies to all (and mostly the author) if this book magically redeems itself in the final quarter. I found it so without defined purpose, understandable plot, engaging pace, or likable personnel that I didn't even finish it, which is an extreme rarity for me. There are too many good books out there. This isn't one.
Judge Rosswell Carew is having a bad day. On a swealtering summer day he decides to get some much needed quiet time, just him and his Nikon and head to the Ozarks. What he finds instead are two very dead bodies on the waters edge.
Together with his fiance Tina and his sometimes friend and ex con Ollie they try to track down the killers. What ensues is a hilarious and dangerous journey. Will they all make it out of alive? This is a great read for the first book in this series, Hopefully the Judge can survive cancer as well as the bad guys.
But WHAT he writes is another matter altogether! This was one of the most bizarre books I have ever read. I can't tell you how many times I nearly gave up reading it. The only reasons I persevered are that I hate giving up on a book and the writing style was good.
But trust me, I will not be reading anything more from this author.