Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Good Man Gone

Author:  A.W. Hartoin
Genre:  Mystery

4 Stars
Mercy Watts is a part-time nurse who also occasionally helps her father, Tommy Watts, on cases.  Tommy is a police detective-turned-private detective.  His former partner, Gavin Flouder, is found dead of a heart attack, but Tommy doesn't believe it.  Unfortunately, Mercy's father and mother are on a cruise, so he asks Mercy to check out what really happened, because he believes that Gavin was murdered.
Finding out her father's instincts are correct, she now has a new task:  Solve Gavin's murder for him.  Mercy is none too happy with her assignment, but agrees to do it.  However, she won't be doing it alone:  she'll have help from her "Uncle Morty," and Aaron, a restaurant owner with a voracious appetite who has been assigned the task of being her bodyguard.  She also has to make sure that her cousin, a police detective named Chuck Watts, doesn't get wind of what she's doing, since he's assigned to another murder case that may or may not be connected to Gavin's murder.
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review; and I always give honest reviews, whether they be good or bad.  Which isn't to say this was bad.  In fact, it was a very good mystery, which wove the details of both murder cases in and out like a tapestry.  It was an interesting read, and Aaron was a hoot.
But, oh, Mercy, Mercy me...I had to take away one star because of her.  I found Mercy herself over the top.  Supposedly, she looks so much like Marilyn Monroe that she has stalkers.  Why she has stalkers is kind of odd - some pictures showed up on YouTube, and now men are following her around and it just Didn't Make Any Sense To Me.  Why?  Well, an example:  she's jogging through an airport and one man drops his briefcase because he's staring at her boobs (as the author repeatedly refers to them), and another's wife hits him in the back of the head.  Really?  I live in Las Vegas, and there are beautiful women going in and out of our airports daily.  Never once have I seen a man do either of these things.  And a lot of these women are not what I would call 'dressed.'  They're wearing tiny tanks and shorts, yet I've never any man act that way around them.  Most men I know are educated enough NOT to stare at my or any other woman's boobs, no matter how much she resembles an actress, deceased or not (and we have our share of impersonators, too).  I was beginning to wonder if Mercy was walking around with see-through clothing and no underwear, because I just couldn't understand the idea of men acting this way.  It kind of makes one never want to go to Missouri, just in case, if you get my drift.   One man even makes an obscene gesture - which seems odd if they weren't porn photos, because if they were just of a beautiful woman, I don't believe a man would just do something like that.  They were also leaving messages and heavy breathing on her phone.  What exactly WAS on YouTube?  Then, they start harassing her mother, because she looks even MORE like Marilyn. I can find no rational reason that these men should be harassing Mercy or her mother for photos, not to mention how disrespectful it is to all women (no, I'm not a feminist, but I expect to be treated with respect), and I'm sure a good attorney could find a way around it (where is Perry Mason when you need him?)  And, in my opinion, it only detracted from the mystery.  I didn't see how she could conduct her own murder investigation if she was continually being followed by men. 
Anyway, my own suggestion is, if this series is continued, tone down Mercy with the stalkers just a tad and let the book stand on its own merits.  Believe me, it just might be interesting enough to see if it could.

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