Emboozlement

Emboozlement, Laughriot Press, a McCall & Company e-book novel by Rich Leder.

Kate McCall is an actress participating regularly as a member of the D-Cup Company in their off-, off-, off-Broadway productions. She also is owner of McCall & Company, a PI firm and .45 Cal. automatic inherited from father Jimmy who had been killed by a hired killer. She was 45 years old, a superb boxer because her dad, a sports fan, had insisted, manager of an apartment complex and a teen-age mother of a now Assistant District Attorney, who, along with the NYPD were not in the least happy with her PI activities. The story follows Kate and her Zany friends/employees/neighbors/co-actors as she meanders through her theatrical performances while attempting to find the culprit who is embezzling large sums of money from a popular sports bar, developing a possible romantic attachment to the owner and also investigating murders in a high priced law firm owned and operated by two married couples with secretes of their own – the murderer employing the same modus operandi as that of her father’s murderer.

The author has a lengthy list of credits for production of humorous books, TV and big screen films and has set forth here another in this same vein with a quirky protagonist, weird plots for her zany characters’ productions, and wacky parts for them to play in her supposedly serious attempts to bring her cases to a satisfactory conclusion. A tremendous number of loose ends remain at the story’s end, but if a reader enjoys a totally unconventional, even nonsensical romp, you’ll love this one.

5* For readers who enjoy a totally oddball read.

Stones in the River

Stones in the River, Vol. 1, is a short story in e-book format by Jason Tucker.

Plot: Jamie was sitting on his couch enjoying a beer and half watching TV news after a long shift at the factory. An announcement from the Lottery headquarters began and listed a number that sounded like the one he had just purchased. He checked, was right and went quietly bananas. It seems he was the lone winner of 33 million dollars. He thought of calling Stephanie a bartender he had seen a few times, but thought better of it. But he didn’t know who to call? Living in a small mountain town was tough. If it was the wrong person, everybody would know. A call to his parents would bring aunts, uncles, their kids, etc. and besides he had to work in the morning. Finally, he called his grandmother and told her he thought he won some money. She thought that was nice but he should not drink any more beer and go to bed. At this moment he knew he would never change. He would be the same old Jamie – send his family on vacations, buy grandma a new car, nieces and nephews stuff they wanted, get the Jeep he had been wanting. In other words he would be generous but not showy. “He would go to work, pay his bills and save money. It was a shame about Stephanie, but he’d meet some nice southern girl who wasn’t wowed by money, they would have three kids and send them all to college.” Unfortunately, this is NOT what followed his winning of the lottery. Instead, as the story unfolds, the Lottery insists upon wide dissemination of the knowledge of his win, Stephanie sues him for several million, his job is given to ‘someone who needs it’ and other occurrences have him leaving for an Alaskan fishing trip that provides an interesting twist to the tale.

Discussion: This is a short story by a newer author that offers an appealing approach to a timely subject. The presentation of the story line is interesting, the pace is good and characterization is a bit sketchy, but adequate. A shift from pure narrative to a conversational approach, in the reviewer’s opinion, would have added greatly to the book’s enjoyment.

3* A short story providing a fine basis for those volumes that follow.