Title: The Highway Shooter
Author: C.E Chesscher
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: MuseItUp Publishing
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ Smashwords/MP
I received this novel free of charge from MuseItUp Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb from Amazon:
In The Highway Shooter: A South Texas Cozy Mystery, newspaper reporter Glennis Dunning and Deputy Sheriff Jake Briggs join forces to fight for justice for a Hispanic teenager wrongly accused of murder.
As Enrique Sandoval awaits his murder trial, disenfranchised Latinos, convinced of the teenager’s innocence, rise up for the first time ever to challenge the entrenched power structure. As Latinos flex their new-found power, a labor movement arises from neighborhood meetings in 1967 Pettrolius, Texas, a Coastal Bend oil town.
Dunning and on-again, off-again boyfriend Briggs mount an effort to bridge the racial divide and restore order before the town spirals toward disaster. The pair has a month to disentangle the real murderer’s web of deceit. If they fail, an innocent boy faces the electric chair, and the town’s wounds may prove permanent.
As it turns out, I’m not a fan of cozy mysteries. I never knew that until this book. Or maybe it is just this book. I have to admit, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about this book.
Character wise, Glennis Dunning was a good main character. She was independent and questioning of her 1960’s society. She was like “No man tells me what to do and I don’t report to any man” so she was pretty cool. Deputy Briggs was the man Glennis wasn’t reporting to and he seemed a little slow. He wasn’t a captivating male lead because he didn’t have a defining feature that made him stood out. He wasn’t sarcastic or funny; he was just there.I didn’t particularly cared for the villain or the supporting cast.
Let’s get down to went wrong, for me, in this book. One of the most crucial things is how Glennis goes about solving the case. There is not one shred of physical evidence that could be admitted to a court of law. It’s all conversations and what people tell her. It’s hearsay is what a lawyer would say and I agree. I think she is a smart lady for putting it together but it’s not pieced together elegantly. And if the villain had not revealed what he knows in a fantastic Law & Order style, then Enrique would have gone to jail. Keeping quiet is the always the right move for the villain but really, when are villains rational?
Another issue with this novel is the amount of dialogue. It read like a play and that is frankly annoying because I’m not reading a play, I’m reading a novel. A lot of the information was revealed through dialogue or events that as readers we are not privilege to but that’s going along with how the case was solved. It wasn’t lacking in details but there is something missing in the book. It may that it needed more world-building…I guess.
What it did right was just the handling of relationship between the characters. Glennis and Jake have a complicated relationship and it shows. Glennis tends to get mad at him quite often but they do work together well. The relationship between Glennis and her mother is an important one because it showcases where Glennis’ independent streak comes from.
The political nature of this book was believable and great until Chesscher decided to portray the Hispanic leader as a sleazeball. It pretty much ended my positive view on the way the tensions were highlighted. The tension between whites and Latinos was apparent in the way the town was divided and how the Sandoval family was treated. The politics of the book are a hit and miss with me because it hits right at the mark of what the Hispanic community went through during that time but having a sleazeball as a leader just devalues it. It’s a little disappointing but I suppose I understand where the author is coming from. If the white leader is a sleazeball, then so must the Hispanic one in order to be fair.
In the end, this book is not for me. Not because it is badly written or subject matter. It’s not for me because I prefer serial killers over innocent bystanders, people with legal training over reporters, and book that don’t deal with politics unless they are really political books.
75th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: Men in Uniform, E-book