A Mick Sever Mystery by Don Bruns
Review: Music journalist Mick Sever ("Do you often involve yourself in other people's problems, Mr. Sever?" "Are you kidding? It's what I do for a living.") is on assignment to write an article on the rebirth of a legendary recording studio but finds murder and a Cadillac purportedly owned by Elvis Presley instead in Bahama Burnout, the fifth mystery in this series by Don Bruns.
Sever is in the Bahamas to do a feature on the "new" Highland Studios. The "old" studio, where some of the top names in the business recorded and mixed bestselling records in the past, mysteriously burned down several years ago claiming the life of a still unidentified man, presumably the arsonist. Jonah and Rita Britt, the studio's owners, are trying to stage a comeback and have persuaded the group Johnny Run to record their new album there. But petty acts of vandalism threaten to jinx the already superstitious band. When Johnny Run's manager is found murdered, the most likely suspect is the group's previous manager who is coincidentally on the island, looking to regain his old job. Mick sees a story here, but he knows he doesn't have all the facts. Worse, he doesn't know who he can trust to get them.
Mick Sever takes on a minor role in Bahama Burnout that, somewhat unexpectedly, works to the book's advantage. He's more of an observer than a player, though he does get roughed up at one point (Hey Mick, what happened to you? To your face? Sever told him the other guy looked worse.) Set on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, the location adds a tropical flair to the story though for the most part it is background color rather than an integral element of the plot. Many of the characters are in a constant semi-lucid state of mind, either from alcohol or weed (which seems surprisingly abundant) or a combination thereof. This tends to act as a metaphor for the reader as to what is happening on the island: are events being seen as they should; are the right connections being made. And the old rusted-out Cadillac provides a focal point about which everything revolves.
Bahama Burnout ends rather abruptly with much of the story unresolved, what happens next left for the reader to imagine and piece together. But instead of being unsatisfactory, this too works in the book's favor; not every story has a clean ending and this one certainly doesn't. Though Bahama Burnout is a rather difficult mystery to categorize, with its atmospheric setting and colorful characters it is probably the author's best to date.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided a copy of Bahama Burnout for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Stuff Dreams Are Made Of
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover), September 2008
ISBN-13: 9781933515168; ISBN-10: 1933515163
Stuff to Spy For
Oceanview Publishing (Hardcover), November 2009
ISBN-13: 9781933515229; ISBN-10: 1933515228
Location(s) referenced in Bahama Burnout: Nassau, Bahamas
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Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns — A Mick Sever Mystery
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: March 2009
List Price: $24.95