Review: Picketsville (Virginia) Sheriff Ike Schwartz takes a vacation to the shores of Chesapeake Bay but that doesn't mean he's not on the job in Choker, the fifth mystery in this series by Frederick Ramsay
Just three days into his break he receives a call from his old friend and former colleague at the CIA, Charlie Garland. Charlie needs a favor. A young pilot, inexperienced in night flying, left an airport in Maryland and flew over the Bay on the foggy night of July 4th. He and his plane disappeared. Nick Reynolds, the pilot and the fiancé of Charlie's niece, left a cryptic message prior to leaving. The FAA and Coast Guard have searched for the plane but have found nothing. Maybe, reasons Charlie, Ike can take a fresh look at the case from his perspective on the Delaware border.
Meanwhile, back in Picketsville, a skull and bones have been found in an age-old sink hole once known as "Passion Pit", now simply the "Kaldron". Acting Sheriff Frank Sutherlin teams up with the Reverend Blake Fisher, who has lost some silver communion chalices recently, to look into it. Has a mysterious cult formed in the local high school?
Ramsay has a real flair for combining a little suspense, a dash of comedy, and a touch of romance into his novels. Choker is no exception. Taking place in a completely different setting than the other books in the series (and in some ways, introducing a different tone as well), it's a real pleasure following Ike on his investigation of the missing pilot and plane, working with (and sometimes in opposition to) a most remarkable cast of characters. It's all the book really needs to keep the reader's attention; the subplot back in Ike's home town is interesting, but adds little of value to the rest of the story.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Choker.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Choker for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), August 2008
ISBN-13: 9781590585351; ISBN-10: 1590585356
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), December 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586846; ISBN-10: 1590586840
Location(s) referenced in Choker: Maryland
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Choker by Frederick Ramsay — An Ike Schwartz Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: June 2009
List Price: $24.95