Wayne Zurl, Black Rose Writing, 2011, 276 pages, adult mystery.
Source: from the author.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sam Jenkins never thought about being a fish out of water during the twenty years he spent solving crimes in New York. But things change, and after retiring to Tennessee, he gets that feeling. Jenkins becomes a cop again and is thrown headlong into a murder investigation and a steaming kettle of fish, down-home style.
The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, couldn't have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent and appears to be no great loss, except the prime suspect is Sam's personal friend.
Jenkins' abilities are attacked when Lovejoy's influential widow urges politicians to reassign the case to state investigators.
Feeling like "a pork chop at a bar mitzvah" in his new workplace, Sam suspects something isn't kosher when the family tries to force him out of the picture.
In true Jenkins style, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn't fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice.
A NEW PROSPECT takes the reader through a New South resolutely clinging to its past and traditional way of keeping family business strictly within the family.
The thing that stands out for me with this book is its meticulous accuracy. Wayne Zurl is a retired police officer and his attention to detail in this book screams of authenticity of police culture and procedure. A New Prospect is told in the first person point of view, so we really have the opportunity to get into Sam Jenkins' head and view the situation as a seasoned cop.
Zurl's writing really brings us to the South, from the small town politics to the accuracy of the accent. It took me a little while to get used to reading the Southern accent, but eventually I did. He uses some great description and fantastic world building.
I found this book to be very character driven, with Sam Jenkins being the central part of the book, maybe even more than the murder he was trying to solve. There is a certain meanderyness to the story telling of the book as Zurl shares the world of police work with us. Jenkins is a macho yet often light hearted character who definitely likes attractive women.
And then there is the murder mystery part of the book. Sam has his work cut out for him when he learns that the victim is more than just unlikable. He does some interesting detective work to lead him to the murderer. I did find that Sam kept some crutial information about solving the murder from the readers, which I thought strange given that the story was told in first person.
I would recommend this book to those who like police mysteries, are sticklers for authentic, accurate detail and enjoy interesting story telling.
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