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Gumshoe Rock

Review

Gumshoe Rock

Northern Nevada’s IRS director Ronald Soranden has gone missing. “Probably the devil’s work.”

Former field inspector Mortimer Angel had “known evil in the IRS. Evil was tracking me around like a Yeti hunting meat.” In a midlife crisis moment, Mort had quit his IRS career and become a novice private investigator, lured by Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee lore. Now he’s “hell on wheels when it came to stumbling across missing people.” Or dead people’s missing body parts. Specifically, heads and hands.

He’d briefly worked at other PI firms (detailed in GUMSHOE and GUMSHOE FOR TWO), and now sleuths for Maude “Ma” Clary (GUMSHOE ON THE LOOSE). Ma “was 62 years old, five foot four [and] the best private investigator in the state of Nevada.” She’s on her way to Memphis by train for R&R, and tells Mort not to do anything without calling her. The thing is, cell phone towers don’t exist along the rails in desolate regions. What could possibly go wrong?

"Witty humor softens grisly crime scene descriptions, making Mort my go-to gumshoe. GUMSHOE ROCK rocks!"

Lucy Landry, at age 31, “looked like an 18-year-old cheerleader” and gets carded at bars. She and Mort have a thing going on. Leaving their favorite watering hole at Golden Goose Casino, Lucy discovers that someone has slashed the canvas roof of her drop-top Mustang. Oh no!

Middle-aged Mort opens the door and finds a “gleaming skull leering up at me from the driver’s seat. It was bone white, which sort of figured, but it looked too clean and white to be real.” But it is. And has the same Terry Thomas gap-tooth smile as Nevada IRS head [pun intended] Soranden. Mort calls Ma. No reception.

Well, he did call Ma! He has to investigate, which leads to learning about an FBI inquiry regarding an accountant who embezzled clients’ funds to pay delinquent taxes, which a corrupt IRS agent-turned-blackmailer had been investigating. In convoluted rabbit warren-like events, some of those clients have engaged the services of Ma Clary’s PI agency to check out the accountant. Mort doubts those small-fry fees will amount to much.

Enter a big fish from the big pond known as Washington, D.C. IRS Commissioner William Munson offers Mort a fat fee to find Soranden’s killer --- and decapitated remains. But in a government private jet seemingly fueled by James Bond-like martinis, Munson gently reminds Mort that the investigation is off-record.

Rob Leininger’s attention to philosophical detail mirrors my own: Bad often begets good. Witty humor softens grisly crime scene descriptions, making Mort my go-to gumshoe. GUMSHOE ROCK rocks! It has earned a spot on my Bookreporter Top Picks Dean’s List, which will appear in December.

Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy on August 9, 2019

Gumshoe Rock
by Rob Leininger

  • Publication Date: August 6, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1608093301
  • ISBN-13: 9781608093304