cover image Jordan’s Branch: A Willie Black Mystery

Jordan’s Branch: A Willie Black Mystery

Howard Owen. Permanent, $29.95 (232p) ISBN 978-1-57962-643-3

Early in Owen’s engrossing 10th Willie Black mystery (after 2020’s Belle Isle), Willie, a world-weary reporter for a struggling Richmond, Va., newspaper, jumps at the chance to write the memoirs of Stick David, an old drinking buddy, after Stick offers him $50,000, with $5,000 up front, for the job. Stick hints he’ll reveal some secret information that will make the book a bestseller, but by the time Willie’s halfway through the first draft, Stick has spoken about little beyond his sexual adventures. Following a missed appointment, Willie shows up at Stick’s apartment to find him shot to death. Willie’s investigations into the murder lead him into the world of homegrown terrorism, and he stumbles on partial plans for an attack. The only problem is that Willie and the police “don’t know what, when, or where, and the clock is ticking.” The bracing narrative is studded with wit and insight, as well as kick-butt action. Readers will agree that it’s a pleasure to spend time in Willie’s company. [em](Feb.) [/em]