Review: A man of many names, none of them his own, travels across country just one step ahead of those that pursue him and just one step behind those he seeks in Billboard Man, the second mystery in this series by Jim Fusilli.
J. J. — not his real name — introduces himself to a woman in a bar in Arizona. "Where are you from, J. J.?," she asks. "No. Let me guess." The driver's license in his wallet said he lived in Toronto, Indiana. He'd never been there. After J. J. spends the night with her, angering her sometime boyfriend Boone Stillwell, he leaves for Memphis, only to be followed by Boone. But does Boone simply want to avenge his humiliation at the hands of J. J.? Or does he have another reason for pursuing a man, who he met only once, seems to have no history, and will likely never meet again?
There is an overriding sense that Billboard Man is simply an episode of a much larger story arc and one isn't quite sure while reading whether they are near the beginning or the end of it. It's not that the storyline here isn't interesting or even entertaining, but it is incomplete in some indeterminate way. At less than 200 pages the book isn't long by modern standards but it sometimes feels longer than it is, as there are stretches where very little happens and it isn't quite clear if what does occur is relevant or not. (The murder mystery element, of which there is one, isn't introduced until the middle third into the story.) Billboard Man is probably best suited to those who read the first in the series and more importantly to those who were eager to see what happens next … and are patient enough to realize that the end really isn't and more is yet to come.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Billboard Man for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Billboard Man: Arizona, Tennessee
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Billboard Man by Jim Fusilli
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: September 2013
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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