A Gary Kemmerman Mystery by E. J. Rand
Review: E. J. Rand introduces retired (or maybe not) crisis consultant Gary Kemmerman in Say Goodbye, an overly complex romantic mystery that isn't likely to satisfy fans of either genre.
When a neighbor's automobile accident appears to be anything but accidental, Kemmerman is asked by the dead man's wife to investigate. She claims he told her his life was in danger, that he was in a "don't shoot the messenger" situation at work, a company involved in international finance. And now he's dead. There was a witness to the accident who supports the view that he was murdered, but the police don't seem to take her account that seriously. Soon Kemmerman is pulled into a complex investigation involving more than just his neighbor's death and one that jeopardizes the lives of everyone involved.
Say Goodbye is very slow going at first. Part of the problem is that there is little foundation for what happens in the first few chapters. In addition, relationships between the characters, at least initially, are hard to ascertain. And there are a lot of characters. Subtitled "a reluctant sleuth mystery" yet Kemmerman seems anything but a reluctant sleuth. He seems in charge of everything except, perhaps, his personal life. That's where the romantic element comes in. The witness to the accident, Natalie Strassberg (who prefers to be called "Becca"), was driving behind the victim when his car went off the bridge. Kemmerman, a recent widower, is immediately attracted to her and pursues her with almost the same determination as he does solving the case. It's all a bit forced and in an odd way somewhat distasteful.
The case itself is hardly suspenseful as the perpetrators of the various crimes (there's murder, arson, embezzlement, blackmail, fraud, and probably a half dozen other felonies or misdemeanors committed here) are known to the reader. An improbable and furiously paced sequence of events brings everyone together in the end. Ironically, in the last few chapters the narrative seems to have more depth and is more thought out and better written, but by this time it's too late to capture the imagination or interest of most readers.
According to the author's website, Rand has plotted out the next few titles in the series after Say Goodbye. There's potential here for future books but the plots need to be much simpler with fewer crimes and characters.
Acknowledgment: Breakthrough Promotions provided a copy of Say Goodbye for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Say Goodbye:
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Say Goodbye by E. J. Rand — A Gary Kemmerman Mystery
Publisher: Deadly Ink Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 2008
List Price: $12.95