Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Whiskey Killing-H.R. Williams

The Whiskey Killing
H.R. Williams
Five Star, Feb 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594146626

After midnight in Medford, Arkansas, a man carrying a 22 caliber rifle walks up to liquor store owner seventy two year old Edwin Mayhew and fires four point blank range shots into his chest. Before leaving Mayhew’s front yard, the killer pours whiskey onto his face. The victim’s older sister Lavonnie sees his corpse and calls the cops.

Medford Police Department CID Captain Billy Walker leads the murder investigation assisted by CID 2 Sergeant Cordelia Hull and CID 3 Bob Claggert. The obvious suspects are those with an interest in the town’s gambling as Mayhew was heavily involved with that. Billy and Cordelia start with Hawaiian Nightclub owner Earl “Uh Oh” Gilby who provides him three sharks wanting the action. However, the case meanders much more than just who will run the illegal gambling business as others die too; Billy works hard to eliminate the obvious until he realizes the killer waits for him.

Billy makes this police procedural so much fun to follow as he methodically seeks clues while training Cordelia; the latter enables the audience to better understand the logic CID 1 applies to the homicide. Filled with twists that occur just when it seems case solved, sub-genre fans will appreciate THE WHISKEY KILLING even if Billy never received admin time for justifiably killing crazy dangerous Eddie Partee.

Harriet Klausner