Thursday, January 3, 2013
Dinner At Deadman's by C.J. West
Lorado Martin isn't your average guy. At over three hundred pounds, he makes a living not at some company job but at doing the things he loves. Renovating foreclosures for affordable housing for those down on their luck. Renting apartments to drug addicts trying to reclaim their lives. And his biggest love, closing out estates and getting to find the treasures left behind.
Lorado is on his latest estate, a Mrs. Newbury. He had met her six months before since she was the grandmother of one of his workers. Newb was one of the drug addicts that Martin tried to help; he paid him ten dollars an hour to help with the construction and hauling his activities entailed. Mrs. Newbury had just died and Martin is there to clear out the house and get it ready for an estate sale. Staying overnight to continue his work, he becomes violently ill. So ill that when his wife discovers him the next morning, she has to call an ambulance. The verdict? Lorado has been poisoned.
Lorado is sure someone is trying to kill him. Too many things are happening. Like a brick thrown through his windows. Like his son getting beat up on his way home from school. Like having thousands of dollars of copper and wiring stolen from his latest big renovation project. The question is who would want to kill him? Some addict he had refused to help? A dealer mad about Lorado's interventions?
But things get even more complicated as he realises that the real motive may be more sinister. He starts to realise that Mrs. Newbury's death might not have been natural but that she might have been murdered. If so, there is a real motive for someone to get Lorado out of the way before he can discover their identity. Can he find the killer before the killer gets to him?
C.J. West has created an outsize, interesting character in Lorenzo Martin. Lorenzo is a mass of contradictions. He spends his days working to house and feed those down on their luck, but resents the entitlements those same people feel they are owned by everyone else. He works hard and plays hard. His love of finding treasure among junk will ring a bell with those interested in TV shows such as American Pickers and Storage Wars. This book is recommended for mystery readers.