Monday, October 20, 2008

Dead Ringer-Michael A. Black and Julie Hyzy

Dead Ringer
Michael A. Black and Julie Hyzy
Five Star, Nov 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9781594147135

In Chicago World’s Heavyweight Kickboxing champion and private investigator Ron Shade accepts an assignment from “Big” Dick Mackenzie of Midwestern Olympia Insurance company. Dick claims they paid out $12 million to the widow of deceased Robert Bayless and the dead man’s company when he died in a downstate car accident; however, based on Robert’s distinctive laugh, Dick insists he is alive in Vegas.

At the same time her boss assigns TV investigative reporter Alex St. James to go undercover amidst the homeless. The case is dangerous so she conceals an illegal Taser. However, her inquiry spins into insurance fraud and murder as Alex’s investigation ties in with that of Ron.

These two Chicago based mystery series are strong sagas in their own right, but merging them proves a winner as for the most part the two sleuths rotate leads. The subplots are exciting until they merge proving the whole is greater than the sum of the parts even when the parts work quite well as separate subplots. With a hint of an attraction between the two stars, fans will insist Michael A. Black and Julie Hyzy provide more collaborative novels like this one.

Harriet Klausner