Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Single, fifty and gay Rhys “Russ” Morgan is also a psychic empath, something that both helps him in his job as a Private Investigator and hurts when the contact is with someone whose thoughts and actions are less than honorable. And his latest job is making those hidden gifts twitch and ache.
Russ has been hired to find out the identity of a blackmailer. The blackmailer’s target is the high-profile televangelist whose son was supposedly “cured” of his homosexuality fifteen years ago in front of the televangelist’s congregation. Now the blackmailer, using the songs from an Enigma’s album, The Cross of Changes, is sending notes and demands to the televangelist and the law office representing him thinks that “vengeful homosexuals” are behind the scheme. Their solution? Hire a homosexual to catch a homosexual.
Russ takes the case but not exactly for the reasons his clients think. Justice wields a two sided sword and those cut by its blade are not always the ones you would expect.
The book Enigma was a lovely discovery for me. I found a new author, new publisher and hopefully a new series to follow. Lloyd A. Meeker is a find, and according to his acknowledgements, he is new to the mystery genre as well. In my opinion, he did a great job.
I really enjoyed the character of Russ Morgan. Older, currently sober and a psychic empath, he clearly has a huge story to tell. I found him fascinating and the “voice” given to him by the author is intriguing. Its perfect in tone and vocabulary, as Russ’ age and experience just rolls off his tongue. This holds true for Russ’ inner monologue, the reader’s companion throughout the story. In fact, I liked Russ Morgan so much that the tantalizing bits of information that we are offered about his past and his gift left me a little frustrated and wanting more, a good thing when laying out a series.
The other characters involved in the mystery are nicely fleshed out, very realistic human beings. I believed in them and others will too. Colin, James, even the parsimonious Andrew Kommen capture and keep your interest as Russ winds his way through a labyrinth of lies fabricated by the reverend to protect himself and his interests.
As a huge fan of the mystery genre, I will admit that I guessed the identity of the blackmailer early on. However, that did not take away from my enjoyment of the story and the final reveal. And I loved, loved, the use of songs from that Enigma album. That was such a great element and it should send anyone not familiar with that band and their songs scrambling to iTunes for a listen to the compelling melodies and lyrics.
I recommend Enigma and Lloyd A. Meeker and can’t wait to see where he takes this series and detective next.
Cover art by Adrian Nichols, Art Director of Wilde City Press. Beautiful cover.
Series: A Russ Morgan Mystery