BOOK REVIEW: DEATH IN WEST WHEELING
In West Wheeling, Illinois when Pine Ridge Missionary School teacher Roger Devon vanishes; Acting Sheriff Ajax “Homer” Deters investigates. Before he can learn what happened to the teacher, three more people vanish, no connections to one another or to Roger seem obvious; at least none that Homer can detect between local troublemaker Ash Jackson, pregnant teenager Angie Boone, and ATF Agent John Peters.
After seeking advice from stroke victim Sheriff Rooney, who is unable to communicate, Homer widens his inquiries especially when the remains of a person are found in nearby Goode Swamp and a second “jawless” corpse is on the highway. His efforts are deterred when a circus tiger escapes and a major pile up ties up the center of West Wheeling. However, the biggest nuisance to solving the case occurs when Peter’s ATF peers invade the small town; needing help Homer turns to his friend moonshiner Rye Willis and the woman he secretly desires postmistress Nina Ross.
Homer keeps this complex police procedural together with his superb investigation and his desire for the postmistress (though he is in denial for much of the tale). The inquiry into missing people that turns into a multiple homicide investigation is made more difficult by the ATF agents who stomp on anyone including the sheriff that gets in their way as they search for one of their own. Though using civilians seems wrong even if Homer desperately needs their help, readers will enjoy this fine murder mystery.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
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