Hit or Miss: Jeff Markowitz
The period is the Vietnam War and protests are common and young people have their own viewpoints about this war. Ben Killer and his girlfriend Emily Bayard become embroiled in circumstances that lead to family dissensions and discord. Emily is a strong believer that she wants an end to the war and her voice is quite loud and her feelings known. Ben, whose father is a police detective in Dutch Neck, faces a dilemma that will estrange him from his son. Viewpoints different and Ben is about to deliver his speech at this college graduation and all eyes and ears are on what he was about to say. But, not everyone is please and what his father hears turns his face stark red and things begin to tense up even more between the two. With his mother trying to stay out of it, his father demanding compliance Ben does things that will distance them further as the story moves along.
Detective Miller did not often go to the VFW but when the Vice President of the United States is going to speak he made an appearance and never expected the result where someone threw a stink bomb at the VP and things got tense and out of control. The purpose of the dissension was to bring to light that there were people against the Viet Nam War, young people dying there namely our soldiers and there were some who wanted to make a point. Emily was part of this group and believe it or not she wound up meeting Nixon and you will not believe the rest.
Things get tense after Ben delivers his speech and his father going to do more than read him the riot act.
Emily is his girlfriend, and her mother is murdered by someone who invaded her home. The manner of death is chloroform poisoning, and her father is a chemist, but did he do it? Things get interesting when we learn more about him and his company plus someone close to him. Karen Conway is his secretary, and she has her own agenda in mind for Dr. Bayard or Duncan and is determined to make sure that the death of his wife benefits her. When Miller is given to handle the murder investigation into Mrs. Bayard’s death things get more tense at home, he finds himself constantly trying to find leads and Ben and Emily join an Ashram and their group of friends are anything but silent with their feelings.
Tommy Callahan became a fixture in Detective Miller’s life and was able to tag along when he was questioning witnesses and given opportunities that most who are studying for the academy would not have access to and more. Tommy is resourceful and sees things that others might miss but he is inexperienced and at times falls prey to his own ambitious personality.
There are several suspects in the murder case starting with the husband of the victim and someone named Junior who has vanished from sight.
Artie Mehlman is now living in Maine in a boarding house and has been enlisted to work on a lobster boat hoping to just disappear and stay off the radar but why? Mary the woman who runs the boarding house seems distant and never forthcoming with her past and her thoughts. The people there are not the most reputable and several soon realize that Artie might have secrets of his own. Mary’s mom is in a home for those that are terminally ill, and things get tense when she realizes that her mom’s condition has deteriorated.
Detective Miller has his own family issues to deal with when Ben and his newfound friends, Willow, Bug, Emily and others decide that want to see a concert at Shea Stadium, but the tickets were bogus that they got, and the result is Ben takes the fall and winds up arrested making his father see fire and more. Grounding him, letting him know the score the distance between them gets wider as Miller is bent on solving the murder and finding Junior aka Artie Melman and learn the truth behind the murder but when approached this guy is smart and wants a deal because something else happens that leads Miller to think he committed more than one murder.
Karen Conway is conniving and wants Duncan all to herself and she will do anything to get him to submit to her wishes. As his secretary she has access to his schedule at the chemical company, can create her own time with him and then threatens him if he does not openly admit their relationship. But Duncan is one man that is never satisfied, and he finds himself at a diner and winds up with the waitress claiming his wife locked him out and stating Karen as his wife. Things get tense and their relationship takes a hit and then Trixie realizes that Duncan might not be the man she thought and what she reveals to Miller sends him on a quest to find the truth behind the death of his wife, just where Karen fits in and how this lie might tie him to the murder.
Going to Maine to investigate Miller learns about the differences in dealing with murder cases and how the officer that he meets is not sure whether the Chief will pursue what happens to Mary’s mother and instructs him to go to the funeral home to observe certain characteristics that would suggest murder.
When all the pieces finally are put together and Ben and his father have another falling out, it takes his wife to go to court for sneaking into Shea Stadium and that scene is totally priceless as his mother creates just enough of a scene to make a point and the result you just will not believe. Just who killed Rosalie and why? What would this person benefit from? Where does Duncan wind up and will Detective Miller ever really hear what his son has to say before their relationship completely fails? Emily and Ben are a unique pair, and he is about to go off to graduate school. Just where will they both wind up? What about her father and is there anyone there she can rely on as the author creates a final scene that let us readers wonder what is next for Detective Miller, Ben and Emily?
Author Jeff Markowitz hits the mark in many places as he is relentless in his pursuit of a killer and the result is not what readers would expect. Sometimes you do not get or get what you want right away at other times it is HIT OR MISS?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews
This one definitely sounds like a winner! Thanks for the great review!