Thursday, July 1, 2010

"The Taking of Libbie, SD" by David Housewright

This is the 7th book in the McKenzie series of mystery thrillers and it is one of the most enjoyable, in part because it is such a change of pace for the character. The series starts with "Dead Boyfriends" but if you haven't been reading the series all along, this would be a very good place to jump in.

Rushmore McKenzie is a former cop who left the St. Paul police force so he could collect a multi-million dollar reward for catching an embezzler. He has a deep sense of justice and chivalry and keeps himself busy doing favors for friends. Up to now, all the books have been set in the Twin Cities area -- and many are set in St. Paul. I love Minnesota mysteries by Minnesota authors so I have enjoyed the whole series, even if the last couple books came a little close to being travelogues.

The reason this would be a good book to try and see if you like the series is that the people and places that fill the other books are present mostly by phone -- and even then only occasionally. So the reader doesn't have to know the emotional nature of the relationships. McKenzie is completely out of his comfort zone (and out of the Twin Cities) in this book. The book starts as intruders break into his home, kidnap him and drive him in the trunk of a car to a small town in South Dakota.

A con man has used McKenzie's name and character to swindle the town and they sent bounty hunters to bring him back. They soon realize McKenzie is not the con man and ask him to help them find him and their money. McKenzie is angry at the treatment he received but eventually decides to do this, as much to learn why the con man chose to impersonate him as to help the town.

This is one of my favorite of the series, even though it isn't set in Minnesota, because the focus of the story is on the people -- McKenzie and the people of Libbie, SD -- rather than on geographical landmarks. It was fun following along as McKenzie talks to people to see what he can learn about the imposter in order to find him. There is plenty of action as well -- McKenzie hates bullies and he comes in contact with a couple of them in this small town.

I enjoyed this book a lot and recommend it. If you read this one, you will want to read the rest of the series!

I got this book from the library.  Support your local library!

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