Thursday, July 7, 2016

Murder Mezzo Rote is A Book You Should Pick Up

When I got the book, “Murder Mezzo Forte,” Rick volunteered to read it for the review. He like mysteries! So here is what he had to say about it.

The title of Donn Taylor's new novel, “Murder Mezzo Forte,” is a poor pun based on the name of the dead physics professor, Mitra Fortier. But don't blame Mr Taylor; puns, some great, some poor, are a specialty of history professor / reluctant investigator Preston Barclay, who narrates the tale. Along with fellow professor Mara Thorn, Barclay discovers the body. The two soon find themselves involved in a mystery that gets more and more puzzling and dangerous.

Barclay is not the typical street-fighting hard-boiled super-sleuth. But he is a bit more courageous and a bit better judge of character than the average person. He is also highly motivated to identify Fortier's killer – for reasons he does not understand, his teaching position, his reputation, and eventually his life are in jeopardy.

As puzzling as the mystery is, much of the fun of “Murder Mezzo Forte” is in the wordplay as Barclay shares his often cynical comments and puns. He must be very, very good at his job to retain it, given all the disrespectful remarks he makes to and about the administrators of Overton University.

This book reminds me of Robert Parker's Spenser novels, without the profanity and steamier, seamier scenes.

Taylor's supporting characters are presented as people with enough personal details to make the story seem very realistic despite some rather unusual developments. I got the feeling that the reader was being dared to guess which “minor” details were important clues.

To give you an example of the book's enjoyably quirky style, here's a sample:

Robert Sun Lee was as Americanized as a child of immigrants can get. His parents said they'd named him Robert, after the revered Confederate general, to emphasize how American they wanted him to become. I once asked Mr. Lee why he chose Sun as Robert's middle name. He said it was because Robert was not a daughter. I asked no more questions.”

If you enjoy this kind of light-hearted trivia [or is it a clue of some sort?] mixed with mystery and suspense, try “Murder Mezzo Forte.” If you don't like it, try the novel anyway and give Taylor a chance to change your mind.

About the book:
He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations. . . .

She a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they're probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs.

Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.

Can this ill-matched pair's stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college's incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse. 

Purchase a copy HERE!

Donn TaylorAbout the author:
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include three suspense novels, one historical novel, and a book of poetry. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics. Website | Facebook | Twitter

This reviewer received the product free or at a discounted price in order to bring you an honest review. No other form of compensation was given. All opinions are those of the reviewer.

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