||Night Shadows Press
Goodwill to men isn’t the Yuletide theme when Greg and Jill McKenzie are hired to investigate rumors that something shady is involved in a deal to bring an NBA basketball team to Nashville. When Greg goes to meet an informant, he finds the young man shot to death. The explosive situation reaches a climax on Christmas Day.
Barnes & Noble.com
Mysteries @ More
Nashville Mystery Writer Chester D. Campbell
Goodwill to men isn’t the Yuletide theme when Greg and Jill McKenzie are hired to investigate rumors that something shady is involved in a deal to bring an NBA basketball team to Nashville. Their client is attorney for a group of Nashville Predators NHL hockey fans who don’t think there’s room for both pro hockey and pro basketball. When Greg goes to meet an informant, he finds the young man shot to death. What information did he have that would “blow your mind?” Things turn deadlier when a bomb goes off beneath Greg’s Jeep. Complicating matters, a disgruntled felon Greg helped send to prison during his Air Force OSI career shows up with revenge in mind. The explosive situation reaches a climax on Christmas Day.
I disliked the place as soon as I stepped out of the car, my breath vaporizing in the cold December night as though I had lapsed back into the smoking habit. Rather than smoke, the smell of used oil and worn tires tainted the breeze. The street appeared as cluttered as the back room in a neighborhood bar. Iron rods criss-crossed the window of the small auto repair shop that had been a service station in a previous life. In a half-hearted attempt at Christmas décor, a winking string of icicle lights writhed like a nervous snake above the overhead door.
A shiny red Corvette several years removed from the showroom sat next to the building. Arnold Wechsel had driven it when he visited our house. I saw no lights inside but knew he had to be here. I was running a few minutes late. As I approached the office door, hands jammed into the warmth of my jacket pockets, I regretted not bringing my 9mm Sig Sauer. Like most PI’s, I didn’t carry it routinely. I had been a bit lax in my thinking tonight, though, feeling Arnold’s imposing size would keep any bad guys at bay.
At the door I hesitated, then turned the knob.
I pulled the door open, stared into the darkness. Something began to take shape on the floor as my eyes adjusted. I drew back, half expecting a bark or a lunge. Instead, I realized it was a body. I felt a pounding in my chest. Was it Arnold?
My first impulse was to rush in and turn on a light. My cop instinct restrained me. Not without a weapon.
I hurried out to my Grand Cherokee for a flashlight. Back at the door, I shined the light inside. Worn black and white vinyl tiles covered the floor. One white square was tinged a garish red. Arnold Wechsel lay sprawled on his back beside a battery display, a lifeless stare fixed on the ceiling.
I caught my breath and my heart seemed to stop. I swept the area with the flashlight but saw no one. Moving carefully to his side, I squatted down and checked his pulse. Nothing. A large, stocky young man with a neck like a Titans lineman, Arnold had fallen almost the full depth of the office. A small round hole in his cheek with dark smudging around it told me he had been shot. Blood pooled beneath his head from the exit wound.
I felt totally helpless.
Jeff Price’s wife and sister-in-law had been happy that a friend was nearby in Nashville to offer help if needed. In the back of my mind, I knew this was not my fault, but I felt responsible anyway. He had come here to give me information he thought I needed.
My investigator mindset kicked in and I knew what I had to do. Find who killed Arnold Wechsel. I pulled out my cell phone and speed-dialed my Homicide buddy, Detective Phillip Adamson.
“Phil, this is Greg McKenzie,” I said.
“Damn, Greg. You really know how to spoil a guy’s nap.” He spoke slowly, as if grappling with clouds that needed clearing.
“Sorry, friend. This is one call I really wish I didn’t have to make.”
He suddenly sounded wide awake. “What’s happened?”
“I was supposed to meet a young German who’s the nephew of an old OSI colleague. He was bringing me some information. When I got here, I found him shot in the face. Dead.”
“Damn. Where are you?”
I gave him the address, explained the condition of the body, the darkened shop office.
“I’ll get a patrol car and an ambulance over there.”
“In that area, on a Saturday night?”
“Not my smartest move lately.”
“That’s for sure. Stay in your car until they get there. I’ll be right behind ’em.”
Good Folks to Have Along in a Gun Fight
"Readers of Mr. Campbell’s previous books will be pleased to be back in his Nashville with Greg and Jill McKenzie. His writing is clean and spare, giving us enough sense of place and character to feel as if we’ve settled in with friends, and then in turn ratcheting up the tension and suspense. Greg McKenzie is not a hard-boiled private investigator, but he’s tough and smart, well aware of the qualities Jill brings to the partnership. The way the case plays out against the backdrop of their lives gives them a genuineness that makes the reader feel these would be good folks to spend an afternoon with - or to have along in a gun fight. Once again, Campbell has hit the mark."
Copyright ©2010 Larry W. Chavis - from The GenReview
Read at Your Own Peril
"Christmas, the NBA, Hockey, a mysterious informant and add murder. Mix well, with a cunning P.I. and his not so shrinking Violet of a partner wife and you have a not so cozy mystery. The past comes calling to bake the mix into a read to tingle the toes of all the fans Chester D. Campbell. New readers may find the landscape a bit bare so reading the previous books is suggested. A Sporting Murder kept this reviewer focused right to the spine jarring end. Read at your own peril. You might find it hard to get anything else done."
David Brown, Military Writers Society of America Reviewer
Cozy Mystery's Answer to the Thin Man Series
"This series is cozy mystery's answer to Dashiell Hammett's Thin Man series. Greg and Jill McKenzie are a charming couple who complement one another and work well together. Their interactions are heartwarming and refreshing and a nice bonus to the story. The plot moves at a fast pace, offering a mystery readers will be challenged to solve.
Christy Tillery French, Midwest Book Reviews
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Chester D. Campbell