Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Missing Element:
A James Becker Mystery
By John L. Betcher
There are various reasons why I may "love" a book--most times it's because it has made an overall impact! But there are sometimes specific things in the book that attracts me--that I applaud. Just because! That's what happened for me with the new novel by John L. Betcher
The Missing Element: A James Becker Mystery has a married couple somewhere in their 40's who have already had a full career and are semi-retired. Yes! Beck's thoughts regarding a receptionist, for instance, who continued to interrupt him to answer the phone and help that individual frankly endeared him immediately to this reader. I guess that means that the main character Beck and I think a lot alike! Ha!
What's more, this couple is obviously still very much in love and fun to know. They allow you to enter into their close, friendly and intimate relationship without ever involving that three-lettered word beginning with "S"! Yes!
Added to that is the dialogue exchanged between them and a third character by the name of Bull and you have a trio that are magically familiar. The author acknowledges that it is a Robert B. Parker style novel. For me, that was part of the attraction. However the characters are significantly different in so many ways that readers have an opportunity to feel the deja vu, while entering the home of and meeting new friends--James Becker and his wife Elizabeth. By the way, Bull, a Dakota Indian, covers James' back when needed... and the relationship with the local police was also fun to watch!
James Becker now has a law firm in childhood home Red Wing, Minnesota, while Katherine, a former CIA operative, is enjoying her retirement devoting her time to artistic endeavors. Because of Beck's former government activities, when the Ottawa County Sheriff's Deputy asks for help, especially in support of a request from his wife, Beck is pulled into a missing person case.
Readers already know that someone had taken her--and that she had known one of them very well! But that individual made one mistake, he forced her to write a note, saying that she was leaving her husband, but there was also a hidden message if anybody would study it enough to find it!
What Beck thought would be a simple search and rescue soon turned out to really be a kidnapping, only no request for money was sent...the price was much more than that!
Sure this was a great mystery and it was complex and diverse enough to keep me totally interested while both Beck and his wife must get involved in order to stop what would have been a world-wide "information" disaster. So if mysteries are your interest, The Missing Element by John L. Betcher is excellent reading.
But if you are also a fan of the late Robert B. Parker and/or fun snappy dialogue, then I move this into the must-read category for you! For myself, you might have already realized that I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with James Becker, et. al., and look forward to meeting them again in their next mystery!
Book Received Via
Direct Purchase From Author
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G. A. Bixler