cover image Black Jackknife: A Nick Montaigne Mystery

Black Jackknife: A Nick Montaigne Mystery

Peter Kurtz. Longitudes, $16.95 (244p) ISBN 978-1-7324789-2-3

Kurtz (Evergreen Dreaming: Trail Tales of an Aging Hiker) puts his hiking experiences on the Appalachian Trail to good use in this suspenseful mystery. Atlanta attorney Denison Harriman, who claims he believes the local police too inept to be of much use, asks PI Nick Montaigne to handle a missing persons case. Harriman’s son, Price, who was hiking the legendary trail with his girlfriend, Helen Botticelli, stopped calling his father several days earlier, leading the elder Harriman to fear the worst. His worries are validated when another hiker comes across Price and Helen’s tent, with Helen lying dead nearby. Helen was stabbed numerous times, but she may have left a clue to her killer’s identity; scrawled in the dirt near the tent are the initials P.H. Harriman summarily fires Montaigne, who becomes suspicious of his ex-client after learning he wasn’t actually Price’s natural father and had withheld other vital information. Harriman’s ex-wife retains Montaigne to probe the murder and to locate and exonerate her son in the process. Kurtz keeps readers guessing about what really happened to Helen. Montaigne is an entertaining enough lead to make a sequel welcome. (Self-published)