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TAHOE HIT, AN OWEN MCKENNA MYSTERY

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, time seems to move at a pace determined to mess with our internal calendars. Not until I received my copy of Todd Borg’s 18th Owen McKenna Mystery, Tahoe Hit was I certain that yes, summer has finally arrived. Well, never mind that according to my wall calendar, summer is almost over.

We at Bookin’ with Sunny are huge fans of that ex-SF cop, now private investigator, who lives in South Lake Tahoe with Spot his Harlequin Great Dane, and at a respectful distance from his cabin, his girlfriend Street Casey, and her dog, Goldie (you can guess the breed). I almost never hesitate to recommend a McKenna mystery, but Tahoe Hit, for me, is one of the best.

Borg’s forte is action read with camera-like eyes. The initial murder of each mystery occurs in the Prologue. Tahoe Hit’s first murder takes place at an evening party hosted by a wealthy hedge fund owner (Carston Kraytower) at his palatial get-away at the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. The gathering includes investors, friends, wannabe millionaires, business associates, and the killer, dressed in black, hiding behind giant trees, and loading a blowgun aimed at a Kraytower associate. By the time the killer moves in for the kill, takes aim, and successfully commits murder, the reader may be struck with something new. This murder was done with slow deliberation, precision, and perfect timing — stealth, not thrill.

From the moment McKenna is called by the local Sheriff to assist in their investigation of the murder of the friend and KGA associate (Kraytower Growth Assets), the reader is awash with words. The thrill in this McKenna mystery is the dialogue, the questions asked by McKenna, and the questions asked by the people McKenna questions. The characters: Kraytower’s young, teenage and painfully introverted son, a male Tahoe housekeeper and driver, a female San Francisco housekeeper (Kraytower’s home away from Tahoe),  a San Francisco nanny, a charismatic musician friend of Kratower’s son, a female gardener, and an assortment of lesser folks.

The pace of “Tahoe Hit” accelerates with dialog, so that the reader, must pay careful attention to what is being said. What clues has Borg dropped like Hansel and Gretel crumbs to keep us, not guessing, but actively detecting? What to make of history, psychology, science, math, even dog training? All are important.

Another KGA associate has already been murdered shortly before the story begins, and more will follow. Long-held secrets lead to long-ago Ivy-league fraternity days and deaths. Not only is the reader taking mental notes of clues but also paying close attention to how the questioned look while being questioned. Is body language as important as we think?

Tahoe Hit has a surprising and satisfying Shakespearean twist: “How all occasions do inform against me, and spur my dull revenge.” Fathers and sons, husbands and wives, the past and not-so-past, and Revenge. Tahoe Hit is a mystery for the pandemic: no need to leave your home or wear a mask. Grab your deerstalker, sit back in your favorite reading chair, and enjoy!  –  Sunny Solomon

Also available by Todd Borg: Tahoe Death Fall; Tahoe Blow Up; Tahoe Ice Grave; Tahoe Killshot; Tahoe Silence; Tahoe Avalanche; Tahoe Night; Tahoe Heat; Tahoe Hijack; Tahoe Trap; Tahoe Chase; Tahoe Ghost Boat; Tahoe Blue Fire; Tahoe Payback; Tahoe Skydrop; Tahoe Deep

Bookin’ with Sunny enthusiastically supports Independent Bookstores and Public Libraries.

2 Responses

  1. You reviewed one of Todd Borg’s Tahoe mysteries at least a year ago. Based on that review I read the first one and didn’t quit until I had read all of them. I thought this one was excellent, but then I have liked all of them. Thanks for bringing them to my attention.

    1. What a compliment, that one of my reviews was the reason to read all of Borg’s McKenna mysteries. Check out his website. It is filled with lots of interesting info about himself, about writing, and McKenna.

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