Unforeseen Fears, An Armis Ambros Mystery, by H. William Gruchow. Self-published. Review copy provided by author.
Armis Ambros and his friend Jake like to make bets, small and large, especially on the outcomes of criminal cases they read about in the newspaper. They're very interested when a body gets dredged out of Emerald Lake, answering the question of what happened to Retha Demond twelve years ago--at least in terms of her ultimate location. But the sheriff seems to be sweeping the case under the rug awfully quickly, and then another case, this time two adults shot and a child missing and found dismembered, is equally ignored, so Armis gets a little more involved than he usually does. Digging into old records and asking questions leads Armis into a dangerous world of political corruption that may just land him in the lake, too.
This novel jumps around a lot at first, making it somewhat difficult to follow before it settles into a more linear pattern. Gruchow more or less reveals whodunit in the first chapters, which I personally did not like. I'd rather be allowed to guess along the way in a mystery than have the reveal up front and then have the story show how things turned out this way. Yes, there are some elements left unstated, and a few more people get killed, but corrupt investigators are shown right away and that's the solution. Armis and his friend Jake seem to be two old guys meddling around where they shouldn't be. Their bets are supposed to be humorous, I think, but did not appeal to me that much. Jake's character is left fairly undeveloped as he mainly functions as a sounding board for Armis, who is supposed to be the brains of the duo--because he's a college professor, after all. Overall, this mystery wasn't to my taste, but others may enjoy it.
I read a lot, especially kid and young adult lit. This blog will review what I've been reading. I get most of my reading material from the library, plus I buy books at school book fairs and the usual stores. I look for freebies on Amazon for my Kindle, and I'm happy to review any ARCs or e-galleys I can get my hands on.