Friday, February 15, 2013

A Dead Ringer

Author: Al Stevens
Genre: Mystery

4 Stars
Someone takes a shot at private detective Stanley Bentworth in a drive-by, and he has no idea who wants him dead or why.  Soon, he discovers a stranger who resembles him has been gunned down in broad daylight, and he begins to wonder which of them was the intended victim.  He is drawn into the murder investigation when the stranger's widow, Georgia, asks him to take on the case.  She thinks that the killers will be after her next.  Against his better judgment, his curiosity gets the better of him and he accepts the case and soon himself becomes the target.
I really enjoyed this book.  Mr. Stevens writes as if he were Stanley, as if he had lived this life himself, which is a very good thing.  You are drawn into the book from the very beginning, which has quite a humorous scene that made me laugh out loud.  From then on, I kept reading and didn't put it down until I was finished.
This book had different tones throughout: In the beginning it was rather humorous and lighthearted, (especially the parts with his nephew, who wants to be a P.I. like his uncle); but as the book progressed it became more serious, until the final chapters, when there was very little humor at all.  It were as if I were watching a child progress into an adult - which isn't a bad thing - and it seemed correct for the book.  The characters were written so that you were engaged with them and cared about their lives, which is how a book should be.  Kudos to Mr. Stevens and I look forward to reading more of his work.

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