Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Reporter Jack McMorrow Finds Big Trouble in a Small Town

Freelance reporter Jack McMorrow is minding his own business, doing an article for a travel magazine about Benedict Arnold's ill-fated expedition against Quebec in 1775, when he stumbles onto a minor mystery in the small town of Scanesett, Maine. A man on a bus tour headed for Quebec has failed to return to the bus which has stopped briefly in the small town. The bus driver waits as long as he can before heading off down the road, leaving the missing man, P. Ray Mantis, behind.

The local police chief, a small-minded man who hates reporters, seems totally unconcerned about the fact that a man has gone missing in his community. But Jack sees a potential story that he might be able to sell, perhaps to the Boston Globe, and so in and around his research about Benedict Arnold's expedition, he begins a search for the missing Mantis.

Jack's investigation gets him tangled up with a mentally-challenged brother and sister who may have briefly hidden Mantis in their ramshackle home. The two seem to think that both Mantis and Jack McMorrow are somehow connected to the CIA, and this mistaken impression leads a trio of violent low-lifes to take after McMorrow.

Jack's life is already complicated at the moment because his girlfriend, Roxanne, is down in Florida, attending to her ailing mother and is having a bad time of it. Jack's normally reliable neighbor, Claire Varney is also down south with his wife, recovering from surgery, and so Jack is left entirely alone.

As the book progresses, Jack alternates between doing the research for his article on Benedict Arnold and his hunt for the missing Mantis. As usually happens when Jack relentlessly pursues an investigation like this, he's ultimately going to find himself in big trouble and will need all of his skills if he's going to escape it. Another good addition to an excellent regional mystery series.

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