MYSTERY

Trouble in Mind

Severn House. (Sam Kelson, Bk. 1). Jan. 2020. 216p. ISBN 9780727889812. $28.99. M
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Sam Kelson was shot in the head during an undercover drug operation when he was a Chicago cop. Two years later, he’s a divorced private investigator who suffers from disinhibition: he blurts out whatever he’s thinking and tells the truth. That often gets him in trouble, especially when he talks to women. Trina Felbanks hires him anyway to investigate her pharmacist brother. Sam finds Felbanks dead in his bed, and he’s arrested. His client isn’t really Trina Felbanks. Then, Sam is arrested for another murder. Someone is out to get him, and Sam traces it back to that shooting two years earlier, and the death of a young dealer. When his former friends in the police department are exasperated, he struggles through with his own muddled thoughts as guidance, and the help of an unlikely cohort.
VERDICT Wiley follows the success of Monument Road with a violent mystery that introduces a singular character guided by his sometimes twisted thoughts. Readers of L.L. Bartlett’s “Jeff Resnick” mysteries may be intrigued by another sleuth who learns to cope with his brain injury.

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