Author: Rex Kusler
Published: January 2010
Paperback: 256 pages
Source: won from GoodReads
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads.com): Investigating your brother-in-law's murder can put a strain on sibling relations--when all the evidence points to your sister. Former Las Vegas Homicide Detective Jim Snow quit the force three years ago to play poker fulltime, but he’s been losing consistently for the last six months. Now he has a new challenge to take his mind away from his problems. His sister’s estranged husband was found murdered in an RV storage lot shortly after selling his trailer for eight-thousand dollars cash to their neighbor. Snow and his sister have issues—the last time Snow saw her was two years ago at their mother’s funeral in Minnesota—though they only live three miles apart. Suspicion points to his sister, since she stands to collect on the life insurance, and her previous husband died during a robbery near an ATM machine. Living off of life insurance settlements from her first two husbands, she’s never had to work. Snow’s not sure his sister is innocent, but he launches an investigation, enlisting the help of a feisty female detective.
My Thoughts: Jim Snow, a former homocide detective for the Las Vegas Police Department, embarks on a mission to clear his sister of murdering her husband. A simple plot for a mystery, but one that intrigued me, especially with Las Vegas as a setting. While the setting is removed far from the tourist activity on the Strip, the locale is interesting since Las Vegas is sitting in the middle of a desert. Rex Kusler didn't allow the setting to be the primary focus in his mystery, though, and instead focuses on the characters. He created a very likable guy in Jim Snow. He is like an everyday person, someone who you would pass on the street. The other characters are a bit odd and not as strong as Snow: his sister Karen acts strange throughout the story, then there is the neighbor, the tramp who Snow pays to be an assist with his unofficial investigation, and Alice, a current homocide detective who decides to lend a hand to Snow. The characterization was lacking in this book, with all of the characters seeming unsubstantial. There was no depth to any of them (except for Snow), which made the book just kind of float along.
While the book did seem to just float along for me, it was an enjoyable, quick read. It wasn't a thriller or a mystery like the typical ones that we think of (Mary Higgins Clark always comes to mind whenever I think of mystery), but it didn't bore me. I didn't expect the ending to happen the way that it did, which was nice, but there could have been a bit more plot twists to keep the reader guessing. However, it was nice to read a mystery book that wasn't a thriller and didn't make me all jumpy (yes, I am wimp and get jumpy whenever I read mystery books). All in all, it was enjoyable, but not something that I will be rereading anytime soon.