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by Roland Keller
Excelsior Editions/SUNY Press, August 2013
295 pages
ISBN: 1438448686

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Easy Taylor is a private detective, or rather he has a job as a private detective. Throughout the book, his insecurities related to his job continually surface as he ineffectually hunts first the person who spectacularly blew up a Catskill developer's land and then a reported Catskill bigfoot. Yes, this story line is that improbable.

The top suspect for the anti-developer explosion is a very attractive female veterinarian, Dr. Hank. Easy "investigates" her in many ways, but mostly in his dreams. He doesn't believe she is responsible for the destruction of property, but he has little to go on other than his desire to get to know her better. He tries to clear her of suspicion at the same time that he is being paid to figure out how she accomplished the explosion. His relationship with her develops into something of its own explosion during the process.

Meanwhile, other forces are at work. Dr. Hank believes that there is a yeti living on the land on which the developer, McGreedy, wants to build luxury condos. And Virgil, the local yokel whose family originally placed that land in conservation trust, finds every opportunity to demean Easy. But that's not difficult, since Easy has no confidence or belief in himself. Murder ensues and the mystery of the yeti is solved, as is the mystery of whether Easy and Hank will find common ground. Many loose ends are left unexplained and untied, but realistic details are not the strength of the book.

The locale of PARDEE HOLLER, the Catskills, kept me reading. I recognized both the landscape and the slightly Appalachian backwoods attitude of the people from the time that I've spent in the area. However, Keller's depiction of the people was more caricature than character, and the plot was simply unbelievable. The book ends with an excerpt from the next book, and that excerpt deals graphically with dog fighting. This is not a series I will be following into the future.

Sharon Mensing is the Head of School of Emerald Mountain School, an independent school in the mountains of Colorado, where she lives, reads, and enjoys the outdoors.

Reviewed by Sharon Mensing, July 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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