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Saturday, October 24, 2015

RESERVOIR ROAD by John M. Spafford

Published in 2009.

A store front in historic Irvngton

I picked this novel because I am a sucker for books set in my adopted hometown - Indianapolis. The author is a resident (or, he was when he wrote the book) and you can really tell that he knows his way around the East Side of Indianapolis (I am a West Sider but I have been all over town).

The book starts with a lovely couple who buy a fixer-upper on Indianapolis' East Side (Irvington) and he starts a career as a teacher. They have a baby and then he loses his wife and son in an unexplained double murder in Covington, Kentucky. The surviving husband doesn't even know why they were in Covington and the murder is never solved.

He cannot deal with this and tries to solve the murder himself. He just cannot. But, he is moved to do something. While on the Crime Stoppers website (If you are not familiar with Crime Stoppers, they offer reward money for tips that lead to arrests and convictions) he realizes that there are so many victims like him - and decides that if he cannot solve his own case he will solve another.

So, he prepares himself and heads off to Little Rock, Arkansas to solve a mystery...

(Note: I keep saying "he" because, for the life of me, I cannot find the protagonist's name in the book. I believe that he is unnamed.)

With the exception of the very clunky treatment of the murder of his wife, this book is well done. I realize that the murder of his wife is supposed to be jarring, but this was just confusing. But, I very much enjoyed the rest of the book, including the little details about how he prepared himself, rented his apartment in Little Rock and generally began his re-entry back into society as he hunted for a murderer in Little Rock.

Quote from the book:

"His summer project had suddenly turned very dangerous. This was not the world that he was used to. He was a stranger in this culture of robbery, torture, threats, and murder. Now he was dealing directly with men who were prepared and experienced with using guns in their everyday pursuits. Men who did not hesitate to use deadly force to get what they wanted.

"Men like the ones who had already destroyed his life."

I rate this novel 4 stars out of 5.

This novel can be found on Amazon here: Reservoir Road

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