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Buffalo Mountain

Frederick Ramsay, Author
Frederick Ramsay, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (257p) ISBN 978-1-59058-369-2
Reviewed on: 05/14/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007

I n this subpar third outing for Picketsville, Va., sheriff Ike Schwartz (after 2006's Secrets ), deputy Whaite Billingsley finds a corpse bearing the ID of Randall Harris, a member of “one of the meanest families” in the backwoods locale of Buffalo Mountain. But Schwartz, a former CIA agent, immediately recognizes the body as that of ex-KGB spy Alexei Kamarov, and the mystery deepens when he contacts Charlie Garland, an ultrasecretive government figure, for help. Despite outwardly approaching the case as a routine and decidedly local homicide, Schwartz is too willing to tell his staff and friends about what is supposedly a top-secret “black program” operation. The layers of intrigue and duplicity are both difficult to follow and impossible to believe. Ramsay exerts considerable energy juggling his convoluted plot with a large number of marginally colorful ancillary characters, all while trying to convey a sense of place. But he has too many balls in the air, and the result is a rarely convincing or credible mystery. (Aug.)

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