bob moats

Review of ‘Bob Moats Triple Threat’

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I received a free copy of Bob Moats’ Triple Threat Box Set in exchange for my unbiased review. I’ve read some of Moats work previously, and looked forward to this, the introduction to each of his three mystery series. Each offering had a few hiccups, but I wasn’t disappointed.

In Classmate Murders, Jim Richards, a 60-year-old ex-security guard (who quit his job because his bosses were jerks) learns that a classmate from 40 years earlier, who recently sent him a strange email, has been found dead. With nothing but time on his hands, Richards and his friend Buck go back in time (not literally, of course) to find out what happened. Some of the dialogue sounds a bit forced, but we’re dealing with a 60-year-old dude who is something of a computer geek, so what is one to expect?

Arthur Doyle, the hero in Doyle’s Law, is a veteran Detroit cop with anger management issues. When the mayor’s children are kidnapped, though, Doyle is just the man to work as liaison with the FBI in investigating the case – or is he? Nonstop action in the classic noir style, with a no-nonsense hero who’d sooner bust a suspect’s face than read him his Miranda rights. I only have one complaint – his name was used too many times in the opening chapter. Given that there were only three characters – Doyle, his love interest, Gwen, and his boss who calls him on the phone, ‘he’ would have sufficed. Looking for a way to describe Doyle’s Law, I finally came up with ‘bumpy roller coaster.’ Left me pretty sweaty by the end.

Major points to Moats for saving the best for last. In Fatal Rejection he pulls out all the stops in technique and story – telling the tale of a serial killer from the point of view of both the killer and the victim. In the opening chapter we meet Derek Harcourt as he prepares a victim, Stacey Kimball, for her end, but the chapter opens through the victim’s eyes and only switches to the killer after Moats has built the suspense to boil. From there, it goes on in whiplash fashion from killer to victim and back again at a pace that leaves you breathless – as it takes a surprising turn near the end.

Moats demonstrates his ability to write mysteries in varying styles quite well. While some of the dialogue, as previously mentioned, is a bit stilted, it doesn’t take away from the overall quality of the stories. Reading Triple Threat was a well-spent few hours.

Fatal Rejection is definitely a five-star story, but the dialogue issues in the first two pull the entire set down to a mere four-star story.

Review of ‘Doyle’s Law’

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Arthur John Doyle, a veteran Detroit homicide detective has a problem. Actually, he has lots of problems, but in the main is his intolerance of lowlife criminal scum, which keeps him in hot water with his superiors. Doyle is suspended for beating a suspect in an attempted mugging, but when the mayor’s kids are kidnapped, and shortly afterwards the mayor himself is snatched, Doyle is called back to duty. The kidnappers want the mugger Doyle put in the hospital in exchange for the safe return of the hostages, and they insist Doyle be the go-between. Things don’t always go as planned, though, and the mayor gets wounded during the rescue, leading Doyle to turn in his badge and become a private investigator.

If you think that was the end of his problems, though, you’d be completely wrong. But, you’ll have to read Doyle’s Law by Bob Moats to know just how wrong you are. A fast-paced, gritty mystery novel with lots of salty banter and enough violence to satisfy fans of noir, this is a book you’ll find impossible to put down until you get to the end. Moats gives us a bit of everything – touches of humor and lots of no-holds-barred action as Doyle proves he’s tougher than the toughest scum on Detroit’s mean streets.

I finished the free review copy of this book in one sitting, and now I’m looking for more.

Review of ‘Santa Murders’

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Mystery author/private investigator Jim Richards is asked by one of the detectives in the agency he owns to look into death threats being received by a local mall Santa and eccentric preacher Harold Renford. He’s reluctant, but finally convinced to do it. What looked like a relatively routine surveillance operation turns ugly and complicated when a Vegas mobster is gunned down in a local hotel by a man dressed in a Santa costume, and the finger of suspicion is pointed at Renford.

In Santa Murders, the 31st Jim Richards’ family of mysteries by Bob Moats, you’re taken on a roller coaster ride of thrills and suspense as Richards finds himself caught up in mob machinations, greedy business deals, and marital infidelities. I’m tempted to say that Moats writes like Robert B. Parker, but that’s not fair to either, as both have singularly unique styles. No, Bob Moats writes like, well, Bob Moats – which is to say, extremely well.

I received a free review copy of Moat’s latest Richards family mystery offering, and I dearly hope that he’ll decide to end the series on an even number, rather than stop at 31.