Sunday, October 22

Love, Death and the Toyman by Robert S. Napier

Review by Theodore Feit


For a debut novel, Love, Death and the Toyman is highly rewarding.  The story flows effortlessly, with twists that unexpectedly turn, clues that veer off leading the reader to wonder what comes next.  The author, of  course, is an experienced writer, even though this is his first novel.  Hopefully, it won't be his last.


Jack Lorentz is a former investigative reporter who now specializes in collectible toys.  Rather than bowing to pressure in killing a story, he resigned with his honor and reputation for honesty intact.   He is retained—actually forced—to undertake an investigation by a wealthy Northwest family after the discovery of bones at their lakeside cabin property.  It seems the potential scandal would put a crimp in the political plans of the husband of the woman, Amanda, who pleads with Jack to look into the matter.  She was his college sweetheart 15 years earlier.


As Jack investigates, he is confronted by the dysfunctional family members, each of whom could be the potential murderer.  Actually, he discovers there were two murders to solve.   Slowly, he accumulates facts and evidence and the reader is led to a conclusion that is highly unexpected.  Along the way, Jack also has to face up to his relationship with Amanda and various other side issues.


Professionally plotted, and well-written, the novel reads quickly and interestingly.  It appears to be the culmination of many years of the author's experience as a writer and editor, who has published more than 500 fanzines since 1969 and many articles on crime topics.


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