Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh, Joe-Michael Z. Lewin

Oh, Joe
Michael Z. Lewin
Five Star, Jul 2008, $25.95
ISBN: 9781594146671

In Indianapolis, twenty-seven years old Joe Prince loves his live in girlfriend Kelly and their child “Little Joe”, but he cannot sleep alone; when she goes away to attend a family funeral, he finds himself picking up women. Disgusted with Joe, Kelly takes their child and moves back in with her mom who hates Joe as a loser.

At Berringer’s, Joe meets his former friend George Wayne who got him some jail time in their previous association; George persuades Joe to baby sit his houseboat for some money while he is away on business. Joe thinks this is easy money and a chance to avoid women while he hopes for Kelly to come home. A few boring days later, George fails to return so Joe swims to shore. The police arrest him for the murder of George whose body was found on his houseboat with an injured dog. Attorney Cayenne Davenport is assigned to represent Joe, who wonders if Kelly will return to his corner.

This combination family drama investigative tale is a fine thriller although Cayenne is better at sleuthing than the two detectives she constantly advises as to what they should do Joe is a fascinating character who cannot sleep alone or stay in a house by himself; although his phobia vanishes too easily, readers will understand his obsession that is not sexual but loneliness driven. The homicide case is cleverly designed while the audience will wonder whether Kelly will return to Joe, who has proven so far to be a dumb loser; having been burned by George before.

Harriet Klausner