||Night Shadows Press
Barnes & Noble.com
Mystery Wrtier Chester D. Campbell
The fourth book in the Greg McKenzie Mystery Series published in 2008.
Did Sydney Liggett, assistant treasurer of Marathon Motor Works in Nashville, skip town in 1914 with embezzled funds, or was he framed and murdered? That's the question PI's Greg and Jill McKenzie are hired to answer when 90-year-old documents found during restoration of the company’s buildings disappear. They discover the contractor who had them has been murdered. As they follow the twisting path, more bodies are found and they fear their client, Liggett’s great-great-granddaughter, may be next.
I introduced Jill and myself and handed him a business card.
“Got a license?”
I showed that to him, also. “We’ve been looking for Pierce Bradley the past couple of days. I was told you had a Jeep in the water here, and I just wondered”
“It’s Bradley,” he said. “Why were you looking for him?”
“He had some papers he was supposed to bring to a client of ours.”
“Well, if he hadn’t driven that fool Jeep into the lake, he might have given them to you.”
Judging by that description, the sheriff thought Bradley had accidentally blundered into the water. I wasn’t so sure.
“Sheriff, there’s something you need to know,” I said. “We just came from Bradley’s house. We found the door unlocked. When I looked inside, there appeared to be some blood on the carpet in the living room. I also saw a large walking stick with possible blood stains. The place looked like the scene of a struggle, with furniture knocked around.”
He gave me a grim look. “Are you an ex-cop?”
“Retired Special Agent in Charge with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.”
He glanced back at the card, eyes widening. “McKenzie. You the guy was involved in that Federal Reserve chairman’s murder case a few months back?”
I nodded. “That was me. It got sort of hairy there at the end.”
The sheriff lifted his hat and swiped a hand across his brow. “I read the newspaper reports. A friend in Nashville told me you had a lot more to do with solving the case than the stories told.”
“Maybe I’d better hire your friend to handle my public relations,” I said, grinning.
A diver’s head cleared the surface of the lake. “Hey, Sheriff,” he yelled. “I got the chains hooked. She’s ready to go.”
“Listen up, everybody,” Driscoll called out. “I don’t want anybody touching anything else. We’re treating this as a crime scene. I’ll get on the phone to Wayne Fought. Looks like we got ourselves a TBI case.”
A Skillfully Woven Tale
THE MARATHON MURDERS is the fourth Greg McKenzie mystery by octogenarian Chester D. Campbell. Former aviation cadet turned journalist, political speechwriter, magazine editor and public relations whiz kid, Mr. Campbell has created a fascinating protagonist whose persona is loosely based on the author’s life experiences. Mr. Campbell’s writing career reads like a rollercoaster trip held on several bumpy logs, and his sheer determination and never ending affection for the written word have allowed him to finally break into print – albeit several decades later than expected.
THE MARATHON MURDERS present a tough nut to crack for husband and wife detective team Greg & Jill McKenzie. An old friend and his mysterious girlfriend need help in solving a 90-year old murder that left a man falsely accused of embezzlement and dead under suspicious circumstances. A set of documents potentially exonerating the man has been found but just as quickly lost – and the finder turns up dead to boot! Soon the McKenzies realize that someone is still very much interested in letting bygones be bygones, even if it means murdering anyone who is stirring up inconvenient histories.
THE MARATHON MURDERS is a skillfully woven tale that shows detective fiction wannabes how it’s supposed to be done. Chester D. Campbell’s vibrant characters all but leap off the page and the scenes are so realistically crafted that you cannot help but feel part of the plot. This book is a page turner, and it is not surprising that the literary world has finally caught on to the fact that one of its greatest assets has been flying under the radar for far too long. This reader eagerly awaits the next installment in the McKenzie series. A must read!
A Very Good Mystery
Greg McKenzie, retired Lieutenant Colonel where he was an agent with the OSI [Office of Special Investigations], is contacted by a former colleague from the Air Force and asked to investigate a matter for his girlfriend, one Kelli Kane. Greg and his wife, Jill, live in Nashville, TN, where they opened a p.i. agency about seventh months ago. Kelli herself has a background that includes working undercover for some Federal Agency, whether CIA or otherwise is unclear. It seems that her great-great-grandfather had been accused of embezzlement when a large sum of money went missing from the company for which he worked as assistant treasurer, Marathon Motor Works, ultimately resulting in its declaring bankruptcy. Her grandfather, now 84 and in a nursing home, has been contacted by the job foreman for a company renovating the building which had housed that company ninety years ago, telling him that some papers had been found, hidden in a wall, attached to which was a handwritten note indicating that the papers were to be turned over to the District Attorney’s office. The job foreman, a man named Bradley, was to have brought the papers to Kelli’s grandfather, but never kept his appointment. Greg and his wife are asked to find Bradley and the papers which they believe will exonerate her relative and clear the family name.
It is not long before Bradley’s body is found, and his house is discovered to have been ransacked, as is Kelli’s grandfather’s house. And of course the papers that might solve the mystery of the missing money are nowhere to be found. Complicating matters is the fact that as the investigation progresses it appears that the old man had a propensity for alienating a wide range of people, as had Bradley himself, and his being targeted may have had nothing to do with the Marathon investigation, but simply a matter of vandalism. But then another body is discovered.
Marathon Motor Works was a real company, and in fact it produced the only car completely built in the South. Nashville and its environs are lovingly described by the author, who has given us a very good mystery, well-written and suspenseful, and one I enjoyed a great deal.
Gloria Feit, Midwest Book Reviews
Especially Entertaining Mystery
This fourth mystery by the author is especially entertaining for those of us in the silver/no hair set. Retired Air Force OSI investigator Greg McKenzie and his partner/wife Jill become involved in a case that spans a current mysterious disappearance of old evidence in a cold case stretching back to the turn of the 1900s. Hired by a woman working for a clandestine government agency and an Air Force Colonel working for the Defense Intelligence Agency who have gone to bat for her grandfather whose ancestor was falsely accused of stealing money from the Marathon Car Company. Exonerating papers are found in a wall of the plant while it goes under refurbishment and the man who contacts the grandfather turns up dead.
Greg McKenzie’s inner dialogue and the interactions with Jill give the reader the thoughts of seasoned professional senior citizens. The story is fun to follow and the dialogue is realistic. We rated this mystery four hearts.
Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews
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