Five Star, Apr 2003, 25.95, 172 pp.
Former TV news anchor Kyle Champion reluctantly accepts the invitation from his old college buddy Matt Kreuger to attend a memorial service for the latter's deceased dad. Actually, the invitation was offered because Matt's sister-in-law Marcia demanded he ask Kyle. She knows Kyle has had some success in solving homicides and Marcia wants Kyle to investigate the death of her father in law, P.J. Though officially P.J. died of a heart attack, Marcia feels his four-decade younger second wife Sorah killed him because she inherits everything in his revised will.
Matt drives the three hours from Minneapolis to the remote “Kreugerland” cabins near Bent Line Lake. There he meets the family he met several years ago when he stayed at the cabins. He also finds Sorah to be quite charming. As he unenthusiastically discusses the death with everyone remotely involved, Kyle begins to uncover disturbing discrepancies that makes him wonder if perhaps P.J. was murdered.
THE FOURTH OF JULY WAKE is an interesting amateur sleuth mystery that readers will enjoy because of the depth of the ensemble's secondary characters. In spite of his TV exposure, Kyle remains a charming idealist though he loses some of rosy optimism due to the results of his inquiries. Though why the dominating Marcia would stay as a second fiddle seems stretched, this cozy will delight fans that will wonder along with Kyle whether a homicide occurred and if so did Sorah really murder her elderly spouse?
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner