steel city investigations

Review of ‘Steel City Investigations’

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I love a good mystery story. I also love humor. When the two are combined, I’m in hog heaven. When I got a free copy of Donald Algeo’s Steel City Investigations, I began reading – it started off a bit slow, but by the middle of chapter two I was hooked like a big mouth bass at a fishing tournament.

Eddie and Nicky Carlyle are two very rich brothers, who, if their father can resist spending their inheritance on his next lost cause, stand to be even richer when he finally shuffles off his mortal coil – something he seems determined not to do until all the money is gone. Divorced from their mother, Daddy Carlyle changes his will for the umpteenth time; this time declaring that when he goes whatever is left goes to his grandchildren rather than his sons. Not a good situation for les deux frères Carlyle.

Eddie and Nicky decide to go into a new business. They form Steel City Investigations, and as their first case go after the Belmont Killer, a ruthless murderer who loves inflicting pain – on anyone.

Algeo does a masterful job of switching back and forth from Eddie to Nicky’s point of view in this rollicking romp through the mean streets and dens of iniquity that their quarry inhabits. Changing points of view can be unsettling because of the need to make clear the differences of characters – and Eddie and Nicky are about as alike as a garbanzo bean and a stalk of celery – but somehow, Algeo pulls it off. The dialogue is edgy and the descriptions are evocative. He sucks you into the story like a kid at a malt shop pulling on a straw to get the last of his strawberry shake from the bottom of the glass. At the end, you’re left breathless – from the suspense and the laughter.

This is a must read for that time when you want a literary change of pace.