Blood On Hampton Beach
By Jed Power
1993. New Hampshire. Hampton Beach in June is filling up with tourists, snowbirds returning home, and murder. Bartender Dan Marlowe, jogging on the beach one morning discovers the corpse of a powerful real estate agent. Almost immediately, one pesky detective thinks Dan is the culprit. To clear his name, Dan, with help from his coworkers, begins to look into possible suspects – a radio talk show host, the dead woman’s brother, a local businessman wanting to make a huge profit. And do a couple of lowlife hustlers and their bad-news associates have anything to do with the case?
Ah, the oft seen guy in trouble with the law turned investigator. This is a decent plot with the usual cast of suspects.
Dan Marlowe: bartender, suffers from anxiety, ex drug user, owns a shotgun and a .38, former bar/restaurant owner, drives an ’86 green Chevette, divorced with children, allergic to cats
Richard Gant: Lieutenant in the Hampton police department, iron gray hair
Steve Moore: with the police department, buzz cut, married and has an adopted son
Michael “Shamrock” Kelly: dishwasher, smokes
Morris Kruel: short brown hair, thin neck
Henry Fuller: white hair, blue eyes
Arite “Tiny Bastards” Neal: radio talk show host, drives a Cadillac, dyed thinning black hair, overweight, pasty complexion, married with children
Dianne Dennison: Dan’s boss and girlfriend, long black hair
Eddie Hoar: short, thin pockmarked face, oily black hairy, hustler, drives a Cadillac
George Ransom: motel owner, bald, big frame, 40s
A lot of expected characters. Just tidbits of info for each, just enough for the reader to get a taste of them without drowning in background information.
There’s a minor attempt to sound local. It’s difficult to stay consistent unless seen often enough. Kelly’s voice, Irish, of course, comes through the best. Conversations don’t wander or contain too much extraneous material.
First person from Dan’s POV. Relatively short chapters. Some profanity.
A few times, just enough to be noticeable but not enough to be irritating, several sentences in a paragraph started with the same word, usually ‘he’ or ‘I’.
Some good similes sprinkled throughout. I don’t know if it was intentional but there is a little bit of a noir feeling to this story. Not much, just a touch.
Good tight writing, maybe a few extraneous words here and there and only one period missing that I found.
Pretty decent story. Third in the series.
I considered Green Belt, but, what the hec, I’m in a good mood (lol) and enjoyed the book.