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Tuesday 9 July 2013

Twice Bitten by Joe Perrone Jr.

This is a Matt Davis mystery. I believe it’s the third in the series. I haven’t read the preceding two, but that’s not a requirement to understand and enjoy this book. It stands alone very well, thank you!

As you might expect from the cover and the title, snakes are involved, no less their venomous qualities. Don’t let these members of the cast put you off: even the most ophidiophobic of readers won’t get too spooked.

The story starts with the death of a Meth dealer: despite a list of obvious suspects for his murder, things aren’t quite adding up for Matt Davis, chief of police. Ron and Winona Trentweiler are a dysfunctional and somewhat itinerant couple who call themselves ‘preachers’, using the rather dubious practice of snake-handling and drinking strychnine in their ‘sermons’. All to demonstrate that the good Lord will protect those that believe in Him. All a load of tosh, of course, but people will blindly follow what they wish to believe, much to Ron and Winona’s financial advantage… But a string of deaths in their wake comes to the attention of Matt.

I will say that there was a little bit of predictability in this story: I did guess the identity of the murderer not long after the character was introduced, and I did guess the nature of the ending. Notwithstanding, I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed being beside Matt Davis as he followed up his leads. I rather liked that he wasn’t a single and attractively rough-around-the-edges-from-the-job character. He was middle-aged, genial and caring, and still in love with his wife. A nice, normal man with a penchant for fly fishing. His wife’s brush with cancer was a poignant toucheven fictional characters have not-so-perfect lives. 

The story is written in both first person and third person povs. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would work: but it did and it worked well. You do have to keep your wits about you just a tad, as the story jumps from time-frame to time-frame. It’s quite a pot-pourri of style ingredients, but this cake comes out of the oven perfectly baked!

Along with the author’s easy-going style, this is a very enjoyable whodunnit.

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