BOOK TITLE: Death on Lake Michigan
AUTHOR: Steven Arnett
GENRE: Suspense; Murder Mystery
Steven Arnett once again hits it out of the ballpark with this Suspense, Murder Mystery, Death On Lake Michigan. Arnett starts this book off, hooking you with a suspenseful murder on Lake Michigan, where the body of Rich Mallon washes up on the shore of the lake. Mike O’Brian, a reporter for the local newspaper in the resort town of Gull Haven, begins to dig into this murder, and there are twists and turns at every corner with his investigation. Death on Lake Michigan is filled with these twists and turns, the first of which is Mike O’Brien finding out through his research that Rich Mallon is not the real name of the murdered individual known as Rich Mallon (from a driver’s license that has been located at the deceased’s condo). There is no forensic evidence at the scene of the murder where Rich Mallon/Richard Nearing is found washed ashore with a gash in his head.
Mike O’Brien is even more curious when he finds this information out, and also that the detective with the local Police department, Lt. George Dirkman, has no leads in the case. Arnett takes you through the full investigation set in the summer of 1973, using background information throughout the book and many interesting characters, some shady and some good. For the reader, however, it's a who’s who of which people are good and which people are bad. Mike talks with a variety of suspects/witnesses throughout the book, and just when you think you have this mystery figured out, you find out you are mistaken in your theories, making this a page turner and a must read.
Grant Fields is the first promising lead, as rumor has it Rich and Grant had a horrible argument the night of the murder on Rich’s boat. Mike O’Brien also finds out through interviewing one of the townsfolk that local businessman Jack Engler has been overheard saying he was going to kill Rich the night of the murder, leading O’Brien to further investigate this. Mike talks with Jack and doesn’t get any information that is useful, so he then follows up on a lead involving Grant Fields, but after interviewing him, his gut instinct tells him that he wasn’t involved. He continues to interview people in the town who might know something about Rich, but comes up empty handed with no solid leads on the case.
Throughout this book there is a cast of characters that Mike O’Brien interviews, one being Becky Westworth, which changes the course of the investigation and his life in this story. Becky happens to know that Rich Mallon, aka Richard Nearing, is from Chicago, and hands Mike the telephone number and address of Rich’s father and stepmother, Virginia Nearing, who Becky tells him never got along with Rich. He drives to Chicago, and interviews Virginia Nearing, finding out that her husband, Richards father has terminal cancer and is only expected to live for three more months. Virginia seems shocked when Mike informs her that Rich has been murdered.
The ending of this book will shake you to your core, with so many suspects you won’t know what to think or believe. Another fascinating character is Lana Bouchard, who ends up murdered because she knew too much about what really happened. Mike O’Brien becomes obsessed with solving this murder, having his own life is threatened in the process. He not only receives a threatening phone call, telling him to stop snooping into this case, he is also beaten up by two strange men, leading him to believe one of his leads holds water.
The lead that seems to be most logical, is the one involving Virginia Nearing. Mike believe she could have had Rich killed for the money in his father’s will, but this book has Mike chasing after many theories. He even bribes a secretary into revealing the contents of the will, which leads him to believe it is not Virginia Nearing that had Rich killed, because his father left everything to his favorite charity.
Without giving away the entire plot, this book ends with another twist, shocking you to the core with its ending. Along the way, Mike also finds love, lending another interesting flavor to the book. This novel deserves and gets a five star review. It is a must read!!!
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