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review 2016-12-16 06:16
A Maine PI on a hunt for gubernatorial killer
Dead Down East (Jesse Thorpe Mysteries) (Volume 1) - Carl Schmidt,JanMarie Moullen

Jesse Thorpe is a carpenter and member of a local band, who happens to be a P. I. on the side. The P. I. part doesn't seem to take up too much of his time or draw much attention to itself, few people in his life know that's one of his professions. Still, he's had a few clients, taken care of a few cases -- enough to give him some confidence in what he does. Then one day, a fishing trip is interrupted by a former client, who just found herself in the middle of circumstances surrounding the murder of her married lover. Who happens -- well, happened -- to be the Governor of Maine.

 

Maybe Jesse could use a little more experience.

 

It doesn't take long before Jesse is working for his former client and two other people to investigate the murder, while the FBI and local police are stymied. Jesse's client isn't the only one that the Governor had an affair with, and the investigation into the affairs keeps Jesse busy and turns up plenty of motives for murder. It'll take all of Jesse's creativity, and the efforts of a motley crew of clients, bandmates, his sexy girlfriend, a friendly policeman, and a lotta luck for Jesse to clear the innocent and make sure the guilty pay.

 

I really don't think the psychic adds anything beyond a chuckle or two, but that could just be me.

 

There were a few places where the book could've used some editing and proofreading -- but only one that took me out of the scene, so I'm not going to get into it. Well, there was also the repeated use of "FBI Officers" instead of "Agents," but that was easy enough to chuckle about and move on.

 

The first couple of chapters were difficult to wade through -- dialogue seemed to be more about short speeches than anything, and the first few people talking about the murder sounded like they were contributing to or reading a news release about it. But once Jesse gets hired and things start to happen, Schmidt settles in and the writing improves. The only complaint I have after this is that he tends to over-explain things -- especially the humor. He needs to trust himself and his readers a bit more and dial that back.

 

There's not much more to say, Dead Down East is a pretty good mystery with a cast of characters that I'd enjoy seeing more of. Give Jesse a shot.

 

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion -- which influenced me not one whit, but I do appreciate it. I'm sorry that I filed it under "December Reads" and not "October Reads" like I'd said I would.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2016/12/15/dead-down-east-by-carl-schmidt
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review 2016-09-10 09:24
Dead Down East- Carl Schmidt

   The main character of this book is private-eye Jessie Thorpe, and a relatively believable one when compared to so many private sleuths from fiction. This the first in Schmidt’s proposed series of books, is unsurprisingly based on one of Jessie’s first cases, and certainly his first murder. Jessie is a bit of a middle-class smart arse, who at the start of the book has had an interesting life but perhaps not achieved a great deal. Jesse has many skills, as a guitarist in a group, an odd job carpenter and now as a gumshoe. He is also toying with the idea of writing. Quite a lot of him is quite possibly a younger version of Carl Schmidt the author.

   The book runs on a fuel of wry-witted observations from Jesse. The voice is very much confident middle-class, white, American. Jesse is definitely macho, but far from Rambo, relying on the ability to disarm with words rather than violence. Jesse has a firearm but not one that is habitually to hand. His so far unused shooter has been given the name of an ex-girlfriend. The feminisation is presumably supported, though it wasn’t instigated by him, through seeing Rhonda as a dissipater of threats rather than a projector of them. Rhonda is carried to give a bit of Dutch courage when felt necessary, and hopefully discourage harmful activity from the psychologically less restrained. Courage without gin, that is. Jessie would never drive inebriated unless absolutely unavoidable. Hopefully Jesse won’t become just another fictional private-eye happy to spray lead first and follow leads second.

   The actual murder mystery is inventive, solved with mathematical logic and, it has to be said more than a reasonably likely quotient of good luck. Isn’t that nearly always the case in real life? If there is one thing we can say is generic to police everywhere, it is that why often make good traffic cops but generally hopeless detectives. It seems the cops of Maine are, at least in this story, little different.

   I feared for a moment as the story veered in the direction of psychic practitioners. I can’t deny I was relieved that the case was solved in a sensibly scientific way. I notice that book two in the series is out, ‘A Priestly Affair’, and hope that it displays a normal range of modern detective skills to achieve what I assume will be another PI success.

   The murder mystery, at least in this first book, was more of an anchor around which to build interesting back story and a range of secondary characters than the be all of the read. The book would have worked equally well without any murder at all. The fun here is in what is happening outside the mechanics of case solving. This isn’t much of an intense thriller, being more about the drama that flows around the murder. If I may borrow images from film/TV, this is more James Garner as Jim Rockford than Bruce Willis as John McClane. Actually, Jesse Thorpe mysteries would adapt perfectly to the TV series format. The book opens with reflections on modern classics in book and film, as Jesse and a fishing buddy with an academic background actually fish on ‘Golden Pond’.
   The writing itself is good, especially where Schmidt allows space for idle chat and scene setting, rather than to the intricate plays of the case. I like reading modern fiction that doesn’t suffer the James Patterson disease of needing a spectacular at the end of each chapter. Yes, there is interest to keep the reading flowing, without a felt requirement for thirty world ending events. We get just enough of the landscape in the authors mind to build our own real feeling interpretations, to visually create our imagined or recall the real backdrop, of the State of Maine. I had no trouble feeling that I was visiting the murder scene.

   Schmidt is yet another in the band of independent authors who write as well as, and better than some, lauded authors, but most of whom will never get the lucky, or ‘contacts’ enabled, breaks. For those that like reading good books from good writers rather than just good books by the fashionable few in the front shelves of book stores, I have no reservations about recommending this author. And of course, I hope Schmidt bucks overwhelming statistics to become a fiction writing success.

AMAZON LINK

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review 2015-04-21 16:22
Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting by Ed Schmidt (Audio)
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting - Ed Schmidt,Edward Asner,Carl Lumbly

A performance by L.A. Theatre Works about signing Jackie Robinson to the major leagues. This audiobook was free during Black History Month.

 

In attendance at this meeting were Mr. Branch Rickey, baseball coach. Mr. Paul Robeson, singer, actor, communist, and activist. Mr. Jackie Robinson, of course, and Joe Lewis, boxer.

 

This was an interesting peek behind the scenes at baseball, black history and indeed, American History. The performances were outstanding.

 

I highly recommend this audiobook for anyone and everyone.

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text 2015-02-05 22:47
Free on Audible
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting - Ed Schmidt,Edward Asner,Carl Lumbly

In honor of Black History Month, Audible is giving away this LA Theatre performance of the night  in 1937 that Jackie Robinson was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers.

 

Starring Ed Asner and Carl Lumbly.

 

Click here

 

 

ETA - Excellent performance but be advised there is a good deal of swearing.

Source: www.audible.com/mt/4forFeb?source_code=FBIGBWS02021590UG
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