Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Buffalo Mountain by Frederick Ramsay

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Buffalo Mountain by Frederick Ramsay. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Buffalo Mountain by Frederick Ramsay

Buffalo Mountain by
An Ike Schwartz Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-369-8 (1590583698)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-369-2 (9781590583692)
Publication Date: August 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): It's the bleak midwinter and the Shenandoah Valley is poised on the brink of an unusually icy and snowy season. Alexei Kamarov's body is discovered in a forest within the Picketsville town limits. His driver's license identifies him as Randall Harris. The last Sheriff Ike Schwartz heard of Kamarov, he was reported missing, presumed dead, in Russia, the victim of intelligence game-playing.

Ike is not happy with this piece of his past. Ike's former CIA colleague and friend Charlie Garland asks Ike to keep a lid on the investigation.

Slowly, interagency rivalries surface as local petty criminals vie with international assassins and plotters for attention. All the while, Buffalo Mountain looms in the background. Does the community's violent history have something do with this recent murder? Or is Kamarov's death part of some greater political plot?

Review: Buffalo Mountain, the third book in this series by Frederick Ramsay featuring Sheriff Ike Schwartz, is a convoluted yet enjoyable mystery set in the foothills of Buffalo Mountain western .

Ike is the chief law enforcement officer for the city of Pittsville. He has a small police force to work with him, including Sam Ryder, a computer wizard who can hack into virtually any computer. When a dead body is found, Ike is called to the scene. Though identified by his driver's license as Randall Harris, a member of a local clan known for its feuds with another family, Ike recognizes him as Alexei Kamarov, a Russian operative that Ike had known while he was working for the CIA. Alexei had been reported missing and presumed dead by the CIA. And now he has turned up in Pittsville. Is it just a coincidence that Ike happens to be Sheriff there? Is his death simply the result of a conflict between families in the area? Or could it be political? Or something else?

As Ike begins his investigation, Sam does a bit of electronic sleuthing and finds that the FBI and CIA are already aggressively following the dead man's money trail. Alexei had extensive financial resources and when someone starts using his credit cards and ATM accounts, they think they may have their killer.

There are any number of suspects who have connections to both Alexei and Ike, including a minister of a local church, a Colonel who served in three wars, and some young men living in the hills. Though at times confusing to follow, this whodunit is a real page turner that has what every mystery should have: a credible plot, suspense tempered with a little humor, and a charming love story.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Buffalo Mountain and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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