Publish: Musa Publishing
204pgs; 12 Chapters
I. Murder Book Summary:
As the title implies, this is a book of tales (short stories), about detective Jake Thompson’s most interesting cases to date. Each tale is a good stand-alone in its own right. However, each story is linked to the previous one, more or less, in chronological order.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Just who is Jake Thompson?
We first meet Jake in “Blind One-Legged Johnny”, as a disgraced cop whom the world considers a prim loser.
His superiors, the press, and even Jake himself is convinced that he is responsible for the near death of his partner during a botched sting operation.
It didn’t matter that he served brilliantly as a patrolman in some of Chicago’s worst neighborhoods. All that had been forgotten.
Jake was “sentenced” to work with The Administrative Investigation Unit (AIU). This “unit” is the place where losers who haven’t been fired outright find themselves.
As Staecker writes: Jake is “still a cop in name only”…he has been “reduced to finding lost wallets and misplaced umbrellas…”
No one wants to work with him and he doesn’t particularly want to have anything to do with his peers. He buries himself in self-pity, crappy cases, and hard bourbon drink.
Jake Thompson is on the skids, just waiting for retirement.
But, in spite of everything, Jake has a support system in place. The reader is introduced to each of this motley crew with each passing tale.
The leader of the “Jake Thompson Fan Club” is Earline, his favorite waitress, working out of Jimmy’s Diner. She loves Jake, in the way a big sister loves a struggling younger brother. She believes in him totally and her sassy temperament will not allow Jake to give up on himself.
Some of Jake’s friends are…well, they’re sort of strange. Eddie Moocha is a young security guard who means well. We meet him in “Duct Man”, where he is assigned to “assist” Jake.
Hopefully he doesn’t blow Jake’s cover in the process. With his satchel that looks suspiciously like a purse, and his over-sized glasses, Eddie may need to be locked up in a padded room somewhere. Be careful, reader! Don’t underestimate Eddie.
Jake’s luck with the ladies is non-existent. Ashley Morant is an old flame of his from 20 years ago. She proves her love by running off, marrying well, and becoming a famous actress. We meet her in “Cheese Cake”, when her daughter goes missing.
Charlotte Rhodes is a high-end CPA. Introduced in “Mustard, Relish, and Larceny”, she is Jakes “girlfriend”. She wants him to move in with her, and become a private investigator.
The second suggestion is sound advice, in my humble opinion. You’ll find out how sound the first suggestion is after reading “The Cobbler”.
The reader is introduced to Captain Mildred Foister in “Deputy Jake”. She’s Jake’s new boss at the AIU. In his opinion, she “could not find her butt with both hands”.
Miriam Poteet is an art appraiser who hires Jake to investigate a counterfeit painting being passed off as the real thing. Jake’s involvement goes beyond the hunt for priceless art in “The Cobbler”, much to his regret.
Every smart cop needs a mentor, and we are introduced to Jake’s in “The Sheriff of West Kowloon”.
Born in Scotland, and working in Hong Kong, Jimmy McIldoon is a tough cop who specializes in a criminal organization known as The Triads. An expert in the field of Chinese gangs, Jimmy requests Jakes assistance again in “Deputy Jake”.
II. Murder Book Judgment:
If you like frills, thrills, and lots of high-tech, then this book may not be for you. Jake Thompson approaches police work the old fashioned way. He uses his brains, toughness, and common sense to solve crimes.
And he accomplishes this while receiving zero credit from AIU, his peers, or just about anyone else.
Thompson’s brainy, sarcastic humor reminds me to that old TV cop from the 1970’s named Colombo…without the raincoat of course.
His tough independence reminds me of Robert B. Parker’s “Spencer for Hire”. If anyone deserves to become a PI and run his own show, it would be Jake.
This book serves as an introduction to Jake Thompson, his world, and a cast of some pretty off-beat and colorful characters.
I must admit that sometimes his ultra-high principles drove me crazy. He turned down money that he desperately needed more than once in this book. But in the end, that’s what I like about him best of all.
As he said in “The Return of Blind One-Legged Johnny”;”I know who I am, and where I come from”.
Will Jake return in perhaps a full-length novel? One can only hope so.
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