Friday, May 10, 2013
"Dinner At Deadman's", by C.J. West
Lorado Martin has loved junk since his grandparents took him bottle digging in the backwoods of New England when he was a boy. The search for antiques and collectibles led him to a unique hobby: digging through the estates of the newly deceased, arranging the sale of goods for the heirs, and keeping the leftovers for himself. To make a living he builds and maintains housing for recovering addicts and along the way he's employed a number of his clients. The men wrestle with the siren call of drugs and teach Lorado about the difficult struggle to stay clean one day at a time. When these two worlds come together, Lorado learns that not every elderly person dies of natural causes and that some estates are sold to benefit a killer. His latest project hits close to home. A woman he's known since childhood haunts him from a fresh grave. Her grandson, an affable addict who has fallen off the wagon, stands to inherit a considerable sum whether he deserves it or not.
I have been a fan of C.J. West since his first book “Sin and Vengeance”. His stories are intriguing, diverse in many ways and have some of the most interesting of characters. The opening scene in “Dinner at Deadman’s” depicts the main character, Lorado Martin, as a treasure collector organizing estate sales for a 30% cut and maintaining and renovating subsidized housing for recovering addicts where some are employed as daily workers. There are no shortage of action and mysterious happening from getting poisoned, vandalism, beaten up, mixed up with local punks and drug dealers. When he suspects Newb of murdering his grandmother for drug money the mystery takes several rabbit trails, keeps us guessing till gradually the clues are uncovered. In all, the novel is entertaining and is an enjoyable who-dun-it mystery.