Blackman’s Coffin ), the former U.S. military CID officer and h"/>

The Fitzgerald Ruse

Mark de Castrique, Author . Poisoned Pen $24.95 (246p) ISBN 978-1-59058-629-7

At the start of de Castrique’s winning second Sam Blackman mystery (after 2008’s Blackman’s Coffin ), the former U.S. military CID officer and his lover, Nakayla Robertson, are setting up a detective agency in Asheville, N.C. Their eccentric first client, Ethel Barkley, wants them to retrieve a lockbox she claims contains a purloined F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscript. Soon after Sam and Nakayla take possession of the sealed box, someone steals it from their office, killing a security guard in the process. The theft may be part of an attempt to maintain secrecy of an American fascist organization that flourished in the 1930s—or it may be rooted in the immediate past, as rogue Blackwater mercenaries (who cost Sam a leg in Iraq) come after the loot they imagine he stole from them. Ethel’s subsequent murder raises the stakes. Readers will hope to see a lot more of the book’s amiable characters, in particular, Sam and Nakayla, whose comfortable banter lends the story much of its charm. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/01/2009
Release date: 08/01/2009
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