The Last Kind Word
Review: Rushmore McKenzie agrees to participate in an "off the books" undercover operation to recover a cache of stolen guns — guns inconveniently "lost" by the ATF during its Fast and Furious operation — up to getting a name for the authorities to follow. But when there is no probable cause to arrest the person once named, McKenzie has to execute a plan to rob an armored car exchange station to bring him to justice, in The Last Kind Word, the tenth mystery in this series by David Housewright.
The ATF became aware of the guns in Minnesota when one was used to rob a grocery store. David Skarda was caught, and McKenzie is embedded with him (as hardened criminal Nick Dyson) in a police cruiser transferring them both to another prison. He arranges their escape, only to learn that Skarda is totally clueless about the criminal activity in which he — and it turns out, his entire extended family — has been engaged in. It was sheer luck that they hadn't been caught before now. McKenzie promises them that he'll coordinate one final heist to set them up for life, but he'll need serious weaponry to do it … which leads him to their supplier. But that introduces a whole new set of complications to his situation, as the supplier wants in on the deal — which McKenzie knows he means he wants it all.
The Last Kind Word opens with a gambit that disguises what is happening for a couple of chapters. It's a strong start, but the overall storyline doesn't lend itself to a full-length novel. There are too many unnecessary characters — notably members of Skarda's extended family — that take up time and space in the book and too many trips here and there across the back roads of Minnesota that accomplish little in the way of advancing the plot. And every time McKenzie tells himself that he should back out now before the situation gets any worse, which it should be said is quite often, readers are likely to wonder why he doesn't follow his own advice. Still, there is a sense that McKenzie quite enjoys the excitement of being undercover and in control of the lives of this really quite nice and ordinary family, and that excitement rubs off on the reader, too. The uneven pacing is a bit of a problem throughout, but setting that aside, The Last Kind Word has an engaging storyline and is, on balance, an enjoyable read.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Last Kind Word for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Curse of the Jade Lily
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), June 2012
ISBN-13: 9780312642310; ISBN-10: 0312642318
Location(s) referenced in The Last Kind Word: Minnesota
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The Last Kind Word by David Housewright — A Rushmore McKenzie Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: June 2013
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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