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Friday, December 11, 2015

The Vulture: An Ike Schwartz Mystery By Frederick Ramsay

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Were it not for a manufacturing fluke that created matching keys for identical cars, Sheriff Ike Schwartz would be a pile of ashes. Instead, it’s an undercover officer who exploded in his car after meeting the Picketsville, Virginia, sheriff, but only a few are in on the mix-up. The atomization of the law enforcement officer is more of a declaration of war than a simple hit, and to that end Ike will use his CIA background and connections to discover who attempted to wipe him off of the planet. Ike is a man of principles who always believes in doing the right thing, and this has garnered him no shortage of enemies. Now, though, they have endangered the life of his wife, Ruth Harris, and that infuriates him into a ruthlessly homicidal rage that is all the more terrifying for his calmness.

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While Ike and Ruth take on new identities to maintain the pretense of his death and chase those who are chasing them, back in Picketsville the sheriff’s department is instigating its own investigation into the attack on their beloved leader. Accustomed to being underestimated by state and federal agencies, acting sheriff Frank Sutherlin more than capably utilizes the department to uncover a threat that endangers the nation. A man who believes in capitalism as Darwinism is intent on ruthlessly taking over the country financially, and he has the resources and magnetism to achieve his goals.

Image source: Poisoned Pen Press

An actual coincidence that occurred with the author’s own vehicle inspired the start of this novel, and from there it ratchets into high gear with suspense, action-packed scenes, and Ike and his allies’ fun antics. Ike’s relationship with his wife Ruth, the very liberal president of the local college, continues to be a highlight, with banter that is as quick-witted as it is funny. Neither has yet to be swayed to the other’s political viewpoints, but somehow they completely match as a couple. Ike’s CIA nemesis/friend Charlie continues to lend support even as he draws Ike back into black ops, and with Ruth as a surrogate for the reader we are introduced to a shady world of complex technological spying and covert warfare.

This tenth in the series continues to maintain is high standard of writing with compelling intrigue, sardonic humor, and a stoic hero for the ages.

To enter to win a copy of The Vulture, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “vulture,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 19, 2015. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase the book:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).