A Noah Braddock Mystery by Jeff Shelby
Review: San Diego PI Noah Braddock cannot help but get involved when an attorney representing Russell Simington, a man on death row, comes to him with the shocking revelation that the convicted killer is his father in Liquid Smoke, the third mystery in this series by Jeff Shelby.
Noah has never known his father, and doesn't want to get to know Simington, but agrees to meet with him at San Quentin. Simington is unapologetic about leaving Noah and his mother years ago, and unrepentant about the crimes he has committed. But as Noah is leaving, Simington throws out a name: Landon Keene. No context, just a name. Noah decides he's done enough just meeting with his father, and returns to San Diego only to find that Simington's attorney has been murdered, the body left in Noah's house. The connection is clear, but the motive is not. Still, now it's personal for Noah, and while he won't do anything overtly to help his father, he does want to see justice done for his lawyer.
Liquid Smoke is a superior novel of suspense, relatively short in length but perfectly paced. The storyline is deceptively simple in its scope, yet there is nothing simple in how it unfolds. In many ways it is also a character study, in which Noah goes from rejecting the notion that he has a father in the figurative sense, to wondering how much of his father may be embedded in his very being. And will getting to know him, even through a series of brief visits in prison, allow him to alter his life in such as way that he can never, will never, be like him? From the creatively devised plot to the well-developed characters, it's all exceptionally well done.
A minor drawback to the book is the inclusion of a preface that is slightly spoiler-ish — readers who don't want to know how this book ends will want to skip the preface and stop reading this review here — and essentially asks the question that will likely be on reader's minds at the conclusion of the book: Will there be a fourth Noah Braddock mystery? It's hard to believe this character won't be heard from again, but it's also hard to see how he can return.
Acknowledgment: FSB Associates provided an ARC of Liquid Smoke for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Thread of Hope
Jeff Shelby (Ebook), December 2011
ISBN-13: ; ISBN-10:
Location(s) referenced in Liquid Smoke: San Diego, California
— ♦ —
Liquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby — A Noah Braddock Mystery
Publisher: Tyrus Books
Publication Date: September 2011
List Price: $24.95