Some businesses go bust because of bad management, misappropriation of funds, overstocking or even not collecting on debts owed to them. Jonker’s appliances was in trouble and if someone did not come in fast to save it from financial ruin the store would close. Bringing in Tom Lovell and his team was the only hope for Otto. A failing business, employees skimming off the top, bills not getting paid, invoices outstanding and too many people on staff are just some of the reasons Jonker’s was failing. But, when Tom and his team, Nick, Joanne, Tommy Jr. and Dan check out the books, receipts, taxes and more what they find will change the complexion of the investigation and lead them to believe that someone wanted Otto out of the way. Taking his motorcycle and angrily taking off after the meeting, Otto had what appears to be an accident. But, Tommy Jr. just recovering from a divorce, failing business and now is in need of another vocation as he once again lives in his old bedroom joins the team. If Tommy has his way he will be flying the open skies in his father’s Cessna.
Each of the employees creates a unique profile and when interviewed you get an overview of a company where sales were made, money not accounted for and an overload of too many people doing nothing. With Steffie the office manager at the helm writing checks and supposedly keeping the books, things should have been accounted for the right way but they were not. As Tommy thinks about the night of the accident and learns more information from a young couple about a van that might have been involved it leads him and the others to doing an in depth look at the managers, the service personnel, the vans and the inside workings of a company losing money.
Meet Brian, Otto’s son who works in audio and thinks he can run the company. Wendy his sister and Christine their mother who is distraught, distracted and who Steffie claims had problems dealing with Otto. So, just who might have wanted him out of the way. Could it be the husband of one of his conquests? Could it be someone in his company whom he learned was scamming him? Why aren’t the police checking the employees? Why do they think it is still an accident? Can Tommy find out the truth without being the next victim? With his father running the company and having power of attorney, some remain employed and others are let go.
While Tommy Jr. enjoys more than just a night out to impress a girl something happens that will change it all. There’s a killer out there who will stop at nothing to destroy what his father and his team are working so hard to safe. With his Dad the analyzer in chief, Joanne the salesperson of the century, Nick Mr. Operations Management and Tommy in charge of collections how could they fail? But, things spiral out of control and when all of the pieces begin to fall in different directions what they learn about some of the employees and underhanded business practices will surprise everyone.
Tommy is clever and very astute and although at times he forgets he’s an adult and resorts to the ways of the very young, he is persistent, driven and determined to get the police to take a closer look at what is really behind Otto’s death. The employee roster is quite huge and appears to be impressive on paper but when you read their profiles, get to know what they are really after just a few are there for the right reasons. When the firing of employees has been completed and the truth behind the loss of finances uncovered who will run the company now that Otto is gone? Just what van caused Otto’s death? Who was the one person that went after him and why? Before more bodies hit the ground and someone else is hurt can Tommy piece it all together? A family battling control of a failing company and one member wanting to run it all but why and how? Deceit, lies, betrayals, murder and one young man just trying to be accepted for who he is.
Author Wally Wood created a great character in Tommy Lovell who is smart, flawed in many respects, loyal to his family and yet independent enough to think on his own. Death In the Family Business: Do you want to belong to this one? What is the final fate of Jonkers? A definite must read!