cover image Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery

Parker Field: A Willie Black Mystery

Howard Owen. Permanent, $28 (224p) ISBN 978-1-57962-361-6

In Hammett Prize–winner Owen’s enjoyable third mystery featuring biracial Richmond, Va., newspaper reporter Willie Black (after 2013’s The Philadelphia Quarry), Willie rushes to the scene of a shooting in Monroe Park. The victim turns out to be Les Hacker, the 79-year-old boyfriend of Willie’s drug-toking mother, Peggy. The single rifle shot that severely wounded Les, who was once a minor league baseball player, appears to have been deliberate. While Les is in the hospital, Jumpin’ Jimmy Deacon, a baseball nut, tells Willie stories about Les’s career with the 1964 Richmond Virginians and the colorful contingent that made up that team. Willie senses a good story, but discovers some strange mortality figures when he begins searching for the starting nine. The deliciously flawed Willie must contend with ex-wives and offbeat friends like Awesome Dude, not to mention an adversarial relationship with newspaper management and Richmond police chief L.D. Jones, on his way to righting another injustice. (June)