Narrator: Tom Lennon
Series: Damien Dickens Mysteries #1
on 25 May 2016
Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
Genres: History, Modern Detective, Mystery/Thriller
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Celine Sutherland is dead - her body half-hidden under the Atlantic City Boardwalk - and Damien Dickens, P.I. killed her. Detective Lt. James Holmes found Damien's gun and wallet near the crime scene, and discovered Celine's cash-filled, emerald-studded evening bag hidden in Damien's apartment. Sylvia Sutherland, Celine's older sister and CEO of the family's tobacco empire, insists that Dickens pulled the trigger. And the Sutherlands carry a lot of influence in Atlantic City. Even Damien's secretary has deserted him - gone to work for the Sutherlands. Only Celine's younger sister, Susan, believes in his innocence.
After Susan bails him out of jail, Damien follows his gut and a series of clues in order to clear his name. His quest takes him to several Atlantic City landmarks, inland to Everettville, a small New Jersey town, and north to Vermont, where he confronts Celine's killer.
The Green Pearl Caper, set in the summer of 1979, is the first in a series of Damien Dickens mysteries.
©2015 Phyllis Entis (P)2016 Phyllis Entis
Set in and around Atlantic City in 1979, private investigator has been arrested in connection with the murder of Celine Sutherland, one of three adult daughters of a local well-connected and rich family. Now he’s been bailed out by the youngest daughter, Susan, and he has to work hard to clear his name.
Parts of this book felt like they were set in the golden age of black & white movies and noir detective stories (perhaps the 40s or 50s) and some parts definitely feel solidly centered in 1979. The blend worked well with this story since our hero, PI Dickens, is a bit of a stereotype. It’s this well-known stereotype that let me slip into Damien’s life easily and pick up on the mystery right away instead of worrying about what he was all about. The cliche is complete with beautiful, efficient, and single secretary Millie Hewitt, who has a thing for her boss. Which brings me to the part that didn’t work so well with this 40s mashed up into 1979 – gender roles. I would have been happier with a bit more depth to the ladies in this tale.
Many years ago, Damien saved a young Celine Sutherland, and it’s a bit of a tragedy for Damien that she is now dead by his gun, with him neatly framed for it. With big money in play, there’s a list of potential culprits. Tracking down clues is a challenge in 1979 without computerized records, the internet, or cell phones. I quite enjoyed watching Damien and Millie do their best to dig up info without getting on the bad side of the law or a solid beat down from questionable parties interested in the case.
I did get a little chuckle out of some of the character names. Like Damien Dickens made me wonder if the author is a Dickens fan. Then we have Detective James Holmes, who makes me wonder if the author is a Sherlock Holmes fan as well. It was fun to see these little potential nods to other great authors.
The mystery itself was pretty good with enough hints to guide me in the right direction but not so many as to narrow down the choices to one person over the rest. At least, not until the big reveal near the end.
I received a free copy of this book.
The Narration: Tom Lennon did an OK job. First, he’s perfect for Damien Dickens. He sounds like a hard used PI who’s down on his luck. His female voices could use a bit more femininity. There were a few times where the volume of the narration changed, and while these variations weren’t enough to damage your hearing, I prefer a smooth recording.
This review first appeared on Dab of Darkness.