Today’s Mystery Monday feature is Killerwatt by Sharon Woods Hopkins. A new author to me, Hopkins has created an unusual detective — one with smarts and determination, and a craving for old muscle cars and 60s music — a character you’re sure to enjoy and want to read more books about. This is book 1 in her Rhetta McCarter Mystery Series.
Rhetta McCarter is the manager of a mortgage and insurance group called the Missouri Community Bank. Working alongside her in the office is war veteran, Woody Zelinski, who was a crack shot in Iraq and Afghanistan and sometimes, under stress, may show signs of PTSD. A part time receptionist, LuEllen, is absent on holiday for most of the story.
When Dr. Hakim Al-Serafi of St. Mark’s hospital comes in to apply for a $500,000 refinancing of his home, his green card said he was German but he didn’t sound German to Woody and after Al-Serafi brings his wife in and behaved not in the least toward her as the westerner he claimed to be, both Woody and Rhetta suspect something is not right in all this. News of his death in a suspicious early morning accident, Rhetta decides to get a look at his car. Hidden in the car manual in the glove compartment is what appears to be a schematic plan of a transformer with arabic writing on it.
Soon five people have seen this paper — Rhetta, her husband Randolph, a friend who can translate the Arabic, Woody, and another friend who’s retired from the Inland Electric Co-operative, Billy Dan. Within 48 hours, someone tries to run Rhetta and Woody off the road, Randolph is run off the road, his car landing in water in a very similar manner to that of Al-Serafi’s car, the translator is dead, and Billy Dan is shot at and left for dead. Unfortunately, no-one in law enforcement wants to listen to anything Rhetta tries to tell them about a possible terrorist plot to take out the Tri-County power grid. Not the local police, the state police or the FBI. So Rhetta and Woody will have to stop the terrorists themselves.
Now, this may sound a bit far-fetched (or not) but this plot just moved along like Rhetta’s Camaro down the open road. You can feel Rhetta’s frustration when no-one believes there’s a threat, her desperation when she is trying to get Billy Dan out from under his overturned fishing boat, her revulsion when she discovers the professor’s body, and her self-doubt when others stop believing it’s real. Woody is a great foil for Rhetta’s gutsy determination and Randolph adds a lot of interest as a retired judge and now artist. Rhetta’s friend Ricky uncovers the makings of another mystery on the very last page. There are currently four books in this series. I’m looking forward to reading the others. The Kindle edition is free on Amazon.ca * * * *
If you, too, are a fan of mysteries, I hope you’ll not only enjoy my Monday posts but will contribute by publishing your own Monday Mystery, mentioning my meme, then come to my blog, comment on your mystery (or mine) briefly, and include the link directly to your mystery review. You can also copy my MMM badge to your post.