Death In Zooville
BellaRosa Books, May 2010, $14.95
In South Carolina, with the permission of his boss Dr. Matthew Ryker, Caleb Knowles performs volunteer social services at the understaffed Safe Harbor Center for the homeless. Besides the difficult clientele, Caleb fears the city leadership has plans to dislodge the homeless for an urban development project. Finally he misses his wife who is in Maine caring for her injured father and the family farm. He and Recovery Director Henry Rudd deal with a fire starter homeless schizophrenic Wyman Carter in a potentially nasty incident.
When murders occurs including Caleb’s intern, the local officials have their excuse to destroy the homeless tent city Zooville and close Safe Harbor; as they blame the homeless for the killings. Police Detective Claudia Briscoe leads the investigation in which Caleb is a prime suspect. Caleb, his deaf brother Sam the renowned artist and Henry team up as an inferno engulfs them and the homeless.
Death in Zooville is a great whodunit that spotlights the homeless societal problem. The engrossing story line provides a profound look at a complex social issue that has been around for decades in places like the Bowery in NYC but exploded during the Reagan Era as displace the homeless is the typical solution. The murder mystery is super, but it is the insightful glimpse at the homeless that makes for a strong Caleb Knowles thriller (see Spider Blue and Keeping Silent).