Jingle and his Magnificent Seven
Trade paperback, 129 pages
October 2017, $13.99
BLURB: When Jingle Bell, Santa’s SEIC Santa-Elf-in-Charge) for Southeastern operations of the SBI (Santa Bureau of Investigation) is assigned to recover the naughty list from a rogue elf, he finds himself in need of human partners. He recruits Nep Thomas, a PI in Coral Lakes, Florida. But the problem grows as Jingle, aka Rocky, discovers that his adversary, Rime, is dealing with Abdul Abaddah, a Mid-East terrorist recruiter and financier. More support is needed. Soon, Rocky’s group grows to a magnificent seven, but they face a dirty dozen. Only when the dozen has been neutralized – without serious injury – can Rocky bring Rime to justice.
REVIEW: While I don’t normally like a book that throws a lot of genres into one mix, I found that this story worked for me because the mix worked. One could believe that an elf could come from the North Pole to recruit a PI to jump headlong into a mystery. And who could not love an elf who makes the world’s best crepes?
Mind you, the reader has to suspend disbelief and jump headlong into the mix like Nep and his girlfriend, Cassie, did, and the author makes it easy for us to do that. All of the characters are quite engaging – and did I mention the crepes? The humor is laugh-out-loud funny in places, especially Nep’s internal debate early on when he is trying to decide if Jingle is real or if Nep should spend less time in the sun.
The writing is spare. There is not a lot of description or narrative summary, and that works well. The snappy dialogue propels the story as much as the plot elements, and the author does an excellent job of making the voices unique to each character. I just went back re-read the opening few pages, and noted again, how Nep and Jingle and Cassie have their own voice.
The main mystery element – the theft of Santa’s list – is wrapped up neatly in the end, and the only caveat I have with the story is that I thought Nep and Cassie accepted the case a little too quickly. I wanted just a little more of the debate before they decided to believe there was an Elf there wanting to hire them for a job. Let alone in the kitchen cooking crepes.
BUY LINK: Amazon
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Randy was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents. Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.
Rawls has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two mixed-genre novels featuring a Santa Elf. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.
Randy writes because he enjoys it and smiles because life is fun. Learn more about Randy and his work at www.randyrawls.com. And please come back on Wednesday, when Randy will be my guest with a post about cancer research and writing your way out of a corner.