Signet, Sept 2004, 5.99, 272 pp.
After drinking too much, busting up a bar and hurting some people Terry Saltz went to prison; when he was released he vowed never to take another drink and get his act together. He works at Smitty's Bars and Eats and has a second job as a carpenter. He's friends with his ex-parole officer and shares a double wide trailer with his pal Danny and police officer John Garvey. He and his friends have annoyed Alan Bushell because they have solved some homicide cases.
At a pool tournament, Terry notices Gwen Hunter dissing one man while flirting with another. The next day while working on a carpentry assignment, he hears a woman screaming and when he runs over to see what is the matter, he finds Gwen dead in her cart, a piece of yellow rope tied around her neck. The same night that Gwen is killed, Terry's friend Bud is upset because his buddy Ernie was killed in a car accident. Tests prove that he was murdered; Terry and company believe the same person killed both Gwen and Ernie and investigate with Terry's brother as one of the suspects.
L.T. Fawkes takes mysteries to a whole different level in large part to his characters who are blue collar working stiffs who hang together and are friends in a way not typically portrayed by writers. What makes Terry and his friends so special is the way they support each other and are not afraid to reveal their emotions to one another. The who-done-it is fascinating because there is no character in this book that the reader would like to be guilty.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner