Monday, January 5, 2015

Murder on False River Hones in On Government Support of Hurricane Relief in Louisiana...



"Do you see something bobbing up and down in the water by that tree trunk?"
"Where?"
"Look over there by that clump of bushes," said Bert.
Beth turned pale in the moonlight. "It...it looks like a body!"
..."Hey Sheriff, this is Bert. Beth and I were sitting out on our pier tonight when we saw something floating in the water. I went out to see what it was and, man I hate to tell you this, but I found a body in False River. There's no telling how long it's been in the water. It's all bloated up and looks like something's been eating on it. It really looks bad. Can you get over here quick?"
..."Let's get this area roped off with crime scene tape right away," said Sheriff Breaux. "The more people we have underfoot, the harder it's going to be for us to do our job."
Left in the still of the night was Sheriff Breaux and his deputy, the police, members of Wildlife and Fisheries, the news media, and an assemblage of horrified people. There had never been a murder on False River before.
~~~


Murder on False River


By Martha Gabour Manuel

When you meet Savannah O'Brien Devereaux, she will be in no condition for you to interact with her...she's in the hospital, cannot move, speak--she was totally dependent on machines. But she was able to hear and while she lay motionless, she heard two women talking about her..one was telling her that she was Senator Savannah Devereaux and learned that she had crashed on New Year's Eve. Some said that she must have been drinking... But the worst was that she heard that her husband had passed away earlier. It was the maids' thinking that his death could have led to her accident... Then she noticed they were talking in the past tense! She was still alive, but could not cry out--she was trapped inside her silent body...

Her doctor came in and then the Sheriff, both hoping that something would happen to bring Savannah back to consciousness... All she could do was pray--she had to be able to tell them all that had happened!

Interestingly, readers are then taken to a new part, set in 2003, where we see three teenagers plan to rob a local store, One backed out and left the scene; two entered and were surprised by a cop who was accidentally killed. If you are confused, that's alright, because there is not a merge of the stories until later in the book...so...hold on!

Enter Michael Joseph Devereaux on the day of his marriage, for a second time... He was 58 and the year is 2008. But as he waited outside, his thoughts reviewed his first marriage, which had ended in death... To begin a new life, he had left Shreveport, purchasing an established real estate company in New Roads. Even that day, as he planned to marry Savannah, who he did love, he still felt mixed emotions...

Now I must say that the romance between these two is almost overwhelming in its intensity, and yet, as the story goes on, readers find that each have secrets that they decide not to share with the other... Both are working at the realty office, but Mike has gotten involved with politics and, in particular, issues related to the horrible conditions in Louisiana due to the hurricane damage. There was growing evidence that corruption at all levels of the government were delaying and sometimes preventing the aid needed to respond to the needs of the citizens there...


Mike was well aware of the wheeling
and dealing that went on behind the
scenes in politics. He arrived in
Washington anticipating problems--
but none like this one. His first night
in Washington and already he was on
Senator Adams "hit list."
~~~
In fact a number of individuals had joined together to visit Washington to see if they could garner support from those in Congress, but the first night Mike was heading to his room, he saw something that he shouldn't have...

A door to his right unexpectedly opened and out stepped a man in a business suit. He was obviously in a hurt to leave, probably hoping that he wouldn't b seen by anyone. The man was followed by a woman, clad only in a flimsy black negligee, still holding on to his hand. Unfortunately for hhim, it was too late to escape unnoticed. Not only had Mike seen him, but he also recognized the illustrious Senator...from Louisiana.

Senator Adams hurriedly pushed the woman back inside the room, closing the door behind her. Then he walked to the elevator as if nothing out of the ordinary had just taken place. It was an awkward moment for both men. Mike walked straight to his door and was busying himself opening it as Senator Adams passed by. Neither man acknowledged the other.
"This is just great," thought Mike. "I wonder what affect this will have on our negotiations when, or even if, we are allowed to meet with him this week."
Mike had a few flings in his younger years, but never while he was married. He considered himself open minded, but not when it came to cheating on a spouse. His philosophy was, "if a man can't be faithful to his wife, how can we expect him to be faithful to the voters who elected him?"
~~~

What the group discovered was that they would not be able to find support from other legislators! Unless they were able to find somebody to run against the present senator, who had been running with no opposition for years, they might as well give up trying to improve things.  Most of the group were heading home, but Mike was going to stay the night and go for one more meeting... Instead he was mugged in the hotel elevator and when he was able, traveled straight home, not telling anybody about what had happened... Not telling anybody that he'd been warned not to continue his investigation...
"What am I going to tell Savannah?"
~~~






The man standing behind Mike tightened his grip to the combatant in front of him from falling. "That's enough," he said to the combatant in front of him. With the same menacing tone he whispered into Mike ear, "It's time you quit your investigation. If you think this was bad, just tell anybody about it, and see what happens to the pretty little wife of yours. This is our first and last warning. Don't get involved in things that don't concern you. You may be a big man with your friends, but you're nothing to us..."
"That not true, Mike," Savannah said
dejectedly. "If you say you definnitely
don't want me to run, I won't run. But,
Mike, this would be such a great
opportunity. I've always wanted to be 

in a position where I could make a
difference..."
~~~
                                                         ~~~

And then Savannah started to talk to Mike about running for the Senate... And she won--upsetting the occupant! And then, of course, things only got worse and soon she started getting similar calls for her to tell her husband to stop his investigation... And before long, Mike was killed while flying his plane to a meeting...

Not only do things get more dangerous, but they get more complicated! And there are still surprises to be discovered... I would like to assume that this novel will also have at least one sequel, but the story can stand on its own, although I would prefer to see a different ending... Let me know what you think!

Murder on False River was much more than the traditional murder mystery. In fact, the murder almost seems insignificant to the overall story, since the man murdered is a minor character to a degree... I previously read and reviewed a book about the corruption in Louisiana related to hurricane rebuilding--that was non-fiction, however... This author does a fantastic job in merging this important issue into the overall political realm that reaches all the way to Washington where, some may not be involved, but are also not willing to take the action needed to ensure that it is stopped! A sad but not unexpected reality where keeping your political power is more important that preventing the fraudulent actions that costs, perhaps, in the millions, or even more! Again, I'd like to see further stories by this author who is seeing the "dubious" politics in her own backyard...

A must-read for some in my opinion...But a great political thriller for all...Check it out!


GABixlerReviews




From a run for political office, to her days in the cockpit, to leadership of government agencies, Martha Gabour Manuel and her heroine, Savannah O'Brien Devereaux, have both discovered that truth is often stranger than fiction. In her debut novel, Martha invites readers to experience Louisiana's beauty, mystery, dubious politics, and enduring characters, through the eyes of Savannah. Readers are welcome to send comments to: Martha Manuel, P.O. Box 1023, New Roads, LA 70760; www.marthamanuel.com; or martygmanuel@yahoo.com