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Murder: Take Three Paperback – March 24, 2013
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Receiving a big paycheck for proving movie action hero Micah Deifenschlictor did not kill his agent, Blake and Maureen feel good about their investigation until things start looking funny about the case, and another man is arrested after clues lead to him. Now, they’re wondering if maybe the clues were planted, and they were supposed to find Micah innocent when in truth he was the killer.
Micah had served a tour in the Marines, and with a body-builder’s muscles was perfect for action parts, even if he couldn’t act. When he left the marines, he brought many of his old military buddies back with him, setting them up in his movies. But is Micah really in charge? Drugs are liquefying his brain, and he doesn’t seem to have the intelligence to plan a murder. Blake and Maureen start looking at his movie studio, where ex-marines are patrolling the grounds armed to the teeth. And when Pinnacle Studios notices their interest, Blake’s home is burned down and the suspected body of his wife is found in the ashes, sending Blake temporarily over the edge. Maureen remains on the case, however, and discovers that Blake’s wife may be alive, and the body was someone else.
Wow! This series just keeps getting better. The characters continue to grow, though the mood becomes a bit darker as Blake and Maureen are pulled deeper into the cases they investigate. There is little mystery to the stories, as the reader understands the set up from the beginning, but we get to see the main characters work out their investigation, discovering clues that will lead them to the guilty party, and this brings the reader closer to the characters involved. And it is the characters that make the series. The sleazy Hollywood setting is another plus. Highly recommended for mystery buffs who love a good yarn.
By the third novel, the two main investigators, Blake Ervansky and Maureen O'Brien, have become trusted partners in E&O Investigations in Los Angeles. Their first big case gives them ample opportunity to wander in and out of grey areas they felt crowded their previous detective work with LAPD. Tracking down the murderer of Cody Mason, a Hollywood agent and part owner of Pinnacle Pictures, they meet an assortment of Hollywood writers, an action hero movie star, a maniacal con-artist, and
all sorts of low-lifes whose ill-considered decisions add comical relief to high-speed chases, break-ins to movie sets, and general mayhem. DEA agents, Marine has-beens turned dope pushers, and former wives fill out the program of colorful identities. Jane, Blake's new wife, and Charlie, Maureen's father and successful television writer, offer stability and intelligence to the investigative efforts of the two sleuths.
As the action develops, colorful narratives depict main character transformations and hint at motive and opportunity for both the co-dependent actor/body builder, Micah Deifenschlictor, and his ingenious manipulating partner at Pinnacle Pictures, Dominic Briggs. We feel Micah's devolution from recreational drug user and tattooed carouser to a depraved addict grasping for periods of rationality as the meth and steroid use poison his acting career. Briggs' aim to concentrate the power at Pinnacle Pictures is played out in his "op within an op" plan which throws off both the police and the private investigators until the last moments in the novel.
Investigative techniques, keen observations, and careful research all contribute to the interest which builds to crescendo pitch in the final military and entertainment studio scenes. Both Ms. Kelly and Ms. Lyons have contributed life-long professional backgrounds to the story line peppered with violence and depravity as well as charm, integrity, and romance. Being engaged with this novel is easy and worthwhile. It certainly left me wanting to read more about the vagaries in life for Blake, Jane, Charlie, Denice, and the very complicated Maureen in the upcoming Murder Take Four.
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