Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Shaved Ice by Del Staecker

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Shaved Ice by Del Staecker. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Shaved Ice by Del StaeckerBuy from Amazon.com

Shaved Ice by
A Ledge Trabue Mystery

Cable Publishing (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-934980-12-9 (1934980129)
ISBN-13: 978-1-934980-12-5 (9781934980125)
Publication Date: August 2008
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher):  There’s been a shooting, and my friends were involved. The words ricocheted through Ledge Trabue’s head as he read and re-read the shocking message sent from Nashville. How…and more importantly…why…had this tragedy happened? It simply made no sense.

Plucked from Florida by a DEA helicopter, Trabue and Professor Albert Bryan are whisked to a horrific crime scene near Nashville where they must begin unraveling what really happened while coping with their grief. Gradually, as they piece the puzzling bits of evidence together, they realize that the incredible evil of the Hart-Fellows empire that they exposed and destroyed two years before has somehow found new life and is now, impossibly, hiding in plain sight. 

Review: Ledge Trabue and is best friend Albert Bryan investigate the senseless murders of their friends in Shaved Ice, the second mystery in this series by Del Staecker.

Ledge and Al are surfing the pre-hurricane waves off Vero Beach Florida when they receive an urgent message saying only "Reggie shot. Win dead. Please come!" Picked up by a DEA helicopter, they are transported to Ft. Campbell, the site of the crime scene. Reggie and Win had been fishing and were unarmed. Were they the targets of the killers, and if so, why? Reggie was a retired cab driver and Win owned a sporting good shop; both were good family men. And what so interested the Drug Enforcement Agency that it sent a helicopter to Florida to pick up Ledge and Al?

Ledge and Al meet and get assistance from Homeland Security Special Agent Barry Reeves and Carole Weathers, a local TV reporter. In most investigations it usually pays to look to where the money is. Here they find the Community Foundation, set up by the powerful Fellows family, and run by the firm of Johnson, Dupree and Comstock. The investigation turns up another, unexpected name associated with the firm: Crazy White Boy Donny. Donny is a dealer in shaved ice, the newest, strongest and most lethal form of methamphetamine. His gang connections receive and distribute the illegal drug, and also eliminate anyone who tries to interfere. But there seems to be a “leader” missing. No one they have met and/or interrogated seems to have the brains or know how to amass the vast resources required to manage this operation. It appears Ledge and Al are chasing a ghost.

From its opening scenes of waves crashing along the shore, the relentless pace of Shaved Ice continues to accelerate to its pulse-pounding conclusion. The characters, narrative, and suspenseful plotline are all well executed, the result thoroughly enjoyable. If there's a downside here it's in the explicit, and largely unnecessary, details of the crime scenes. The story is strong enough that it doesn't need this added dose of realism.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Shaved Ice and to Del Staecker for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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