Wednesday, October 2, 2013

And Let There Be A Hero by R. M. Kidwell, Spotlights Burn Victim As Homicide Cop!

"My mind swirls like a powerful whirlpool in a dark sea. There are distant. Pain. God. how I hurt! I can't move. Why can't I move? Casket. I'm dead! No. There's too much pain...every bone, every muscle, every fiber of my being throbs! Death is unfeeling--life is where all pain is. I'm alive. But where the hell am I?
"My eyelids feel like they are glued shut. If I could" A slit appears in the right eye and then the left; vague, fuzzy. "I see light...white light. Aaahhg!" My whole body screams with pain.
"'Go toward the light!' I read that somewhere. It was an author's advice to a dying character. But I'm not dying. I'm in a room. Everything's white. Bandages. Why am I bound like a mummy? Smoke. Fire. Explosion. Carol! Where's my wife?" I try to scream. "Carrolll!" But nothing comes from my throat, only my mind. "God, my throat hurts."
"An alarm sounds and a nurse rushes into the room. She checks the monitors and then my pulse through the bandages.
"Try to stay calm," she says. "You were in a terrible accident." 
"It was no accident!" I want to scream. Memories splash through my mind like raging river rapids..."
"You are in the burn unit at Dayton Municipal Hospital. You have been through quite an ordeal. How is the pain?"
"Turrbuh," I manage to murmur through my restricted throat and the tight bandages. "Hurt so baa..."

And Let There Be A Hero
By R. M. Kidwell

With 567 pages in a novel, readers get more than they realized! This is Kidwell's second novel and, in case you didn't read the first one, which I hadn't, he provides a portion of that book as an Appendix so we know how and when Kalen Gatt was nearly killed in a fire. I appreciated that! The interesting thing about that incident was that Gatt chose "not" to tell the truth about what had really happened--even though he lost his wife that day...

Another Appendix contains a short story, which readers can choose whether to read... it was written by the main character in the novel! Cool idea, right?

Another interesting aspect of the book is that there are really multiple cases, or you could consider them shorter stories, divided but totally integrated within the novel... so be prepared for a long read! LOL

"Right now, I am in the throes of trying to regain
some semblance of a life. I pray that I am not so
horribly scarred that my children will shudder
when they look at me. I want them to be proud of
their dad and think of me as a fine father, a great
person, an outstanding citizen, and--let's face
it--their hero.
"Can a dad be his kids' number one hero even
when they grow older? Hey, it's possible. The last
I heard, there are no age limits or time restraints
on being a hero. In fact, I wish to offer a word of
caution: Be careful whom you piss off. Somewhere
between cradle and crypt, anyone, N-E-one, could
one day be a hero. Think about it: Joan of Arc,
Abe Lincoln, or even Boo Radley in "To Kill a
Mocking Bird."
"Is one born with a set jaw? Of course he isn't;
nor a limp wrist for that matter. These are learned
behaviors. To become a "real" man, which I strive
to be, one must read deep down where bravery and
valor dwell to find that special something. I
learned this very early in life.
Readers enter into the life of a man who is totally disfigured--his pain, his rage, his attempts to get back into some semblance of his former life... He must! He has two children that need their father. Even though he was worried about how they would react to him... will they be able to see him as the hero he once was?

And then there's his career...

He's a cop! A Homicide Detective in Dayton Ohio...
And when he gets back on the job there are three open cases: The Alphabet Assassin, the Johnson case, and a hazing incident.

Can he still perform assigned duties? Kalen notes, "Before that fateful, hateful event, I had the world on a string and used it for my personal yo-yo..." He had been a rapid-riser in rank and there were some that resented him for it... So getting a call-out at 3 AM was par for who was flippantly called "the hotshot..."

Fortunately his partner, Matt Cutter, was a good guy to work with... Kalen had started calling him "Cold Cut" and somehow Kalen had picked up "Special K..." 

I enjoyed the traditional "bad cop" that Kalen will play to then allow Cutter to be the nice, good cop that wins over the witness. In this case, the housekeeper had found the body of Trotter, a local millionaire, who had been murdered. Of course, while still on the scene, the Special K had decided who was guilty, while Cutter took the time to do the necessary investigation...

And while that is going on, a personal family disaster pulls Kale into an investigation about a local restaurant using sick cow meat...

And then there's the vigilante... who turns out to be a paranoid schizophrenic worried about aliens and cannibals...

So while working, dealing with his family and the crap that happens at work, especially from his superiors, he and Cutter talk about opening their own PI business...

But not before, Kale becomes acting Chief of the Crime Investigations and they even use music to catch a serial killer:

"Well, it may just mean that the killer doesn't want to add to the risk of being caught. But, somehow, I think this is the key to the whole thing. Why does he use words like adorable, beautiful and cute instead of just a for Ann or Alice, b for Brenda or Betty, c for Carol or Connie? The English language is so vast, yet the killer sticks to sweet, affable words. To me, that has to be significant..."

Readers will be working along to solve crime after crime until, at the end, 4 characters remain, beginning a new Private Investigation organization...and an ongoing group for this series!

If you enjoy crime fiction, check this writer out. The sub-title of the book is :You've Never Met a Detective Like Kalen Gatt--There's Never Been One! I agree, not only because of his physical limitations, which will be shared with readers, but because he's a smart, funny, hero-type of guy that you will enjoy getting to know.

Highly recommended...


About the Author

Years ago, my spouse and I watched an acclaimed film. Great acting but the plot was boring. Up for several awards, it won zero. Surprising? Not to me. When we left the theater, I remarked, "The story line was horrible, I could write something better than that." My spouse said, "Why don't you?" Meaning, "Drop the subject," but I took it as a challenge. In four years, I wrote seven stories; four novels; a poetry anthology; and two musical plays. The writing bug did not bite me; it crawled into my ear and lodged in my brain.

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