This book straddles the fence between being a cozy and a hard-boiled tale. Jack Marston, former investigator for the U.S. Navy, is now director of student services at a small college in Minneapolis, so he doesn’t consider himself a law-enforcement officer anymore, but he keeps getting pulled into investigations in this series that debuted with Bloody Halls. In Reunion, Jack talks his girlfriend, Lori Jacobs, into attending her 20th class reunion in hopes of learning more about her, only to be thrust into another investigation when one of her former classmates is found murdered.
The lighter side of the story revolves around introducing the players and the reunion, which isn’t a bad thing if your reading tastes lean more toward the cozy. In some places I also thought things happened a bit too easily in terms of finding out important information, but the interplay between characters was good enough to keep me connected to the story, and I did really enjoy the relationship between Jack Marston and Lori.
The tangle of underhanded business dealings from the past that connect to the current murders adds to the drama and suspense, and the reader is led down a few blind alleys until the final outcome. I will say Brookins kept me guessing through most of the story and the tension did pick up toward the end. As Marston gets closer to solving a five-year-old murder, as well as finding out who is responsible for killing people at Lori’s class reunion, the danger mounts for him and Lori.
In addition to writing and reviewing mysteries, Carl Brookins is an avid recreational sailor. With his wife and friends he has sailed in many locations across the world. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America.
FTC Disclaimer: The author sent me a copy of this book, just like he probably sent one to the New York Times in hopes of a review. That is the way it is done in the business. I am free to ignore the request for a review, the same as the guy from the New York Times. No money is slipped under any table and none of us get seriously rich by doing reviews. Was I influenced by the fact that Carl Brookins writes reviews that he lets me share here? Probably, but only because I find his writing good enough to share.