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.