THE DOUBLE-JACK MURDERS by Patrick F. McManus

Book Quote:

“Agatha’s father disappeared one day back in 1927. His helper, Sean O’Boyle, a boy of about fourteen, disappeared with him. One day they went off to work a small gold mine they had hidden away in the Snowy Mountains and were never seen nor heard from again. Agatha claims her father wasn’t the kind of man to run off like that. All these years, Agatha has wondered what happened to the two of them. She believes they must have been murdered or maybe killed in a mine cave-in. Agatha says you can figure out if they were murdered and, if so, who did it. She thinks you’re a genius.”

Book Review:

Review by Chuck Barksdale (NOV 9, 2009)

Sheriff Bo Tully is back in The Double-Jack Murders, another entertaining, fun and enjoyable quick-read mystery by Patrick McManus in the third book of this promising series. In this adventure, the story takes place mostly in the Deadman Creek area of the Snowy Mountains of Idaho where Bo, Pap (Bo’s father) and Bo’s friend “Indian” Dave Perkins go camping, partly to avoid Lucas Kincaid, an escaped murderer who is after the Sheriff, and partly to look into the 1927 disappearance of the father of local resident Agatha Wrenn.

While Bo is preparing for his thinly veiled re-election campaign “Empty the Freezer Day,” Agatha Wrenn’s young and very attractive niece Bunny Hunter, visits to tell him about her aunt’s desire to have Bo solve the old mystery of Agatha’s father’s disappearance. Later that day, Bo also discusses the escape of prisoner Lucas Kincaid with his sharpshooter deputy Brian Pugh in hopes that Brian can protect Bo and possibly eliminate the threat on the Sheriff’s life by Kincaid. Bo is hoping he can lure Kincaid out in the open while the Sheriff is camping in the area where Agatha’s father went missing.

Bo, Pap and Dave have a few obstacles to get over, but are ultimately successful in finding the somewhat covered up old mine and what looks to be the old dead remains of Agatha’s father and assistant Sean O’Boyle in the Double-Jack mine operation. Bo gets his “CSI unit,” Byron “Lurch” Proctor, to help in identifying the remains. Bo also uses others in his department to help track down the old killers of the Double-Jack mine operators.

McManus does a good job of establishing the two key stories in this book while keeping the story light and funny. “Empty the Freezer Day” is a big party that Bo has on his property that leads everyone to cook and feed all the people of Blight County, Idaho who ultimately will be happy and will re-elect the Sheriff. In addition, Bo (and others) lightly flirt with Bunny and Bo always takes the opportunity to flirt (in a harmless way) with all the women he meets. He also attempts to re-establish the romance with Susan Parker, the local medical examiner.

McManus is not only known for his humorous mystery books, but also his essays and books on the outdoors and he’s able to show his humor and his knowledge of hunting and camping in this book set in his native Idaho. He does not overdo it though as I’m certainly not someone who does much hunting and camping and was not bored by some of the details provided.

This is the second book I have read by Patrick McManus, after Avalanche. I’ve enjoyed both of the books, but I enjoyed The Double-Jack Murders much more than Avalanche. I think the story and characters are a little more believable and the story seemed to flow a little better. The Double-Jack Murders features fewer characters so you get more of Pap and Bo and their interaction with each other and with other characters. Of course, I already knew the characters from the first book and that may have helped and may be the main reason for enjoying the third book more. Nonetheless, you can read and enjoy either book without having read a prior book in the series.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 18 readers
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster (October 6, 2009)
REVIEWER: Chuck Barksdale
AMAZON PAGE: The Double-Jack Murders
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Patrick F. McManus
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of The Blight Way and Avalanche, the first two books in the series.

Bibliography:

Sheriff Bo Tully:

Humorous Books, Essays & Stories:

How To:


November 9, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Humorous, Sleuths Series, US Northwest, Wild West

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