Friday, November 21, 2014

A Certain Retribution: A Merrick McKnight Novel-Michael Lister

A Certain Retribution: A Merrick McKnight Novel
Michael Lister
Pulpwood, Nov 28 2014, $16.99
ISBN 9781888146455

Merrick McKnight lost his journalist position at a Florida Panhandle newspaper due to downsizing, and his wife and child due to a car accident.  Living in Wewathitchka, Florida he runs into Reggie Summers at the Tiki Grill; she attended Wewa High School like he did.  Though attracted to each other, Reggie doubts a reporter like Merrick would want a too big country-fried trashy single mom raising a teenage football player.  At Tucks, Merrick and Reggie intervene when Deputy Donnie Ray threatens Dahl Rogers.  As Rogers flees the scene, Reggie tasers nasty Donnie Ray.

Not long afterward Gulf County Sheriff Robin Wilson asks Merrick questions re Dahl, who was killed soon after his last call to Merrick though the reporter failed to answer his phone.  Insisting his innocence though the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates him and his department for alleged wrongdoings, Wilson wants Merrick to cover the inquiry offering full access.  At the same time, using the nuts test Reggie checks on whether Donnie Ray killed his former sheriff department’s peer.  Soon someone kills more cops.

As Prison Chaplain John Jordan (see Blood Sacrifice) and WWII detective Jimmy "Soldier" Riley Series (see The Big Hello) take respites, the second McKnight Panhandle mystery (see Thunder Beach) is a twisting dark investigative thriller.  Adding fun to the mix is Michael Lister entering the Corner Café.  Although the sex distracts from the grim inquiries, the gender role switching enhances an overall exhilarating regional whodunit. 

Harriet Klausner

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