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by E. Michael Helms
Seventh Street Books, November 2014
250 pages
ISBN: 1616140097

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

DEADLY RUSE, by E. Michael Helms, is the second book featuring retired-Marine-turned- private-detective Mac McClellan. When Mac retired from the military his wife divorced him and he headed to the Florida Keys for some fishing while deciding on the next chapter in his life. In the first book in the series, DEADLY CATCH, he succeeded in helping solve a case. Along the way he met and fell for a pretty local woman named Kate Bell. In this follow-up Mac is still enjoying his life in Florida with Kate. One night, after leaving a movie theater, Kate believes she sees her former fiancé, who she thought was dead. The fiancé and some friends were supposed to have died in a tragic boating accident years before but Kate is sure he is the man she saw. Mac is sceptical at first, but as he starts to look into the man's past and death he learns that nothing is what it seems.

The book is a good solid mystery. It's entertaining and fast-paced and will keep the readers' attention and draw them into Mac's world. The mystery is interesting enough that you want to know more, and the details are parceled out slowly to keep the audience reading to the end and wondering about the truth behind several layered mysteries. Mac is a likeable guy. He's smart, funny and realistic. And the author does a good job of bringing small town existence in the Florida Keys to life.

My only complaint is that there were a great many characters, some using various aliases along the way, and all of them were involved in a multi-layer conspiracy. It was slightly confusing at times. But, aside from that there is little to criticize. The book is well done and enjoyable. It would make a good choice to bring on a trip or a vacation.

§ Paris Abell is blogger and writer who works as a lawyer in New York City.

Reviewed by Paris Abell, October 2014

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