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J.B. Kohl

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Member Since: Apr, 2008

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The Deputy's Widow
by J.B. Kohl   

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Publisher:  Arctic Wolf Type: 

Copyright:  January 28, 2008 ISBN-13:  9780980219746

November 1948. The year is drawing to a close and things couldn't be much worse for Private Detective Hamilton Baker. It starts with a simple phone call from a woman named Diana Kramer. With a voice like a teaspoon of honey drizzled over Lauren Bacall, she begs the detective to find letters she's written to her lover, Sheriff's Deputy Chester "Chet" Ferrebee. Chet is to wed another woman this afternoon and Diana, the scorned mistress, wants the letters back where they belong…with her. Hours after the wedding, when Chet turns up dead in a roadside motel room, his bride beaten beyond recognition and unable to remember anything, Baker fears his client is somehow involved. As he searches for the letters, he unwillingly digs into the past of the sleepy town of Crane Haven and uncovers the dangerous secrets of a group of men who shattered a young girl's mind, as well as her chance for happiness, years ago.

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"Did I ever tell you about the time Ginger gave me the clap?"
--Detective Hamilton Baker

Professional Reviews

Amazon Review
Lloyd F. Ritchey - "StormDragon"
Hard-as-nails Detective Baker confronts bone-breaking wise guys, truculent cops, and sexually charged femmes fatales in this gritty murder mystery staged in a 40's New York town. Story and characters are evocative of Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett (Baker is perhaps like Sam Spade played by a younger, tougher Humphrey Bogart). But author J.B. Kohl has her own, strong noir voice.

This reader was sorry to reach the book's conclusion, wanting to spend more time with the colorfully drawn characters and linger in the tough world where men are quick with the "heaters" and fast with the fists--and the dames "fill the room with fire." I look forward to J.B Kohl's next Detective Baker novel.

Now, where did I put those unfiltered Camels?

Amazon Review
Kohl's wit shines through in her writing. The interaction between the main protagonist Detective "Ham" Baker (awesome name) and key members of the supporting cast is excellent.

Baker is obviously confused and innocently unaware of his attraction to Dierdre which makes for some very charming and memorable scenes.

Edwards, Baker's fussy and physically imposing British assistant cracked me up with his repeated attempts throughout the novel to see his rumpled and bruised employer properly attired.

But, by far the most entertaining, is the charged tension between Baker and his ex-wife's new husband, Police Detective Lewis. The verbal digs exchanged between the two men as their private and professional paths cross is fantastic. Imagine some of the cheekier courtroom exchanges between Perry Mason and the obviously intellectually inferior District Attorney Hamilton Berger. Throw in a cheating wife, a smug cop, a wise-acre private dick and amplify by a factor of 5.

For me, the intrigue and events surrounding the murder was more about providing Kohl's sublime and humorous characters the opportunity to interact. The stellar cast and 1940's noir setting are what set this novel apart from a crowded mystery / crime genre.

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