Road to Omalos
A Caswell & Lombard Mystery by Marilyn Jax
Review: Private investigators Claire Caswell and Guy Lombard are hired for a most unusual case when a man threatens them with a gun — it turns out it wasn't loaded — to take on the case of tracking down who reduced his life to shambles in Road to Omalos, the second mystery in this series by Marilyn Jax.
Chadwick Otto owned a plastics factory in a neighborhood terrorized by one George Zeppano, who extorted money from business owners. Taking a stand — alone — against the man, he paid a high price: his factory was bombed, killing his only son William, who was unexpectedly working in the building at the time, in the process. To add insult to injury, the insurance company believes Otto may have destroyed his own property and are withholding payment. Believing his tormentor to be in Crete, having fled the country following the explosion, and with the police having no jurisdiction, Otto hires Caswell and Lombard to find Zeppano and bring him to justice.
There are a couple of aspects to Road to Omalos that are interesting and compelling, but for the most part, this is a strange book featuring an odd (and not necessarily in a good way) pair of investigators. Throughout the book, but in particular during the first quarter or so, the author breaks the fiction-writing guideline of "show, don't tell" by abruptly stopping the narrative and inserting a passage to inform the reader about a particular person or specific place. And the reader is constantly reminded that Claire and Guy are the super sleuths of Caswell & Lombard, Private Investigation (always italicized, repeated several times every chapter in which they appear, sometimes twice on the same page): "No sleuth, detective, investigator, or private eye in the entire Miami area could vie with the level of competence offered by Claire Caswell and Guy Lombard — the dedicated duo." The nonstop grandiose descriptions of the two get to be unintentionally funny, even more so when they talk to and about each other this way.
What tends to work here, however, is a separate subplot about a group of men who are also searching for Zeppano, and have also traveled to Crete to find him. Their purpose for locating him, and what they intend to do if or when they find him, has an air of mystery to it. Finally, the descriptions of Crete are remarkably vivid, with the local characters brightly drawn, adding much needed color to this really drab investigative plot involving the "dedicated duo".
Acknowledgment: Beaver's Pond Press provided an ARC of Road to Omalos for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Road to Omalos: Miami, Florida, Crete
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Road to Omalos by Marilyn Jax — A Caswell & Lombard Mystery
Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $26.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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