Book 1, in P.I Frank Johnson mystery series
Although this book was written after “The Dirt-Brown Derby” and “The Blue Cheer” it is actually the first in the series. I normally prefer starting with #1 in a series however when researching this author I found different opinions on where to start, very confusing. I solved the problem by contacting the author who graciously suggested I start with “Pelham Fell Here”, the real prequel to the other two books.
The story is actually an introduction to the main character Frank Johnson and his life after leaving the Army as a MP and how he was eventually lured into the crazy trade of private detectives. The peaceful town he knew and grew up in is no longer the way he remembers it and marital issues and life in general has left Frank with a major chip on his shoulders. On another note, excessive drinking and an obsession to get even with his ex-wife for leaving him leads to a growing urge to do something he will regret for the rest of his life.
The simple storyline takes place with Frank finding his cousin Cody, once his business partner shot dead in his gun shop in Western Virginia. Frank’s troubles take another turn for the worse when he learns his name is at the top of the list of prime suspects. In order to prove his innocence Frank goes on the lam and stays one step ahead of the law trying desperately to flush out the real killer before the authorities railroad him for a murder he did not commit. Matters take a turn for the worse when he learns a group of neo-Nazis might be behind everything. What the h… did his cousin get involved in?
At first I was totally disappointed with the choppy writing, the extremely slow pace and lackluster story. Luckily I persisted, things picked up and the story transformed itself into a rich, colourful, suspenseful narrative with many layers. The new found captivating pace held my attention to the very last page.