Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words
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“An accidental nomad, Rob Cornell grew up in suburban Detroit, then spent five years living in Los Angeles before moving to Chicago to receive a BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College. He has traveled full circle, now living in rural southeast Michigan with his wife, two kids, and dog, Kinsey—named after Sue Grafton’s famous detective. In between moving and writing, he’s worked all manner of odd jobs, including lead singer for an acoustic cover band and a three-day stint as assistant to a movie producer after which he quit because the producer was a nut job.”
Cornell has ten works, some short stories and some novels, available for your Kindle. For more, visit Cornell’s website.
“California private investigator Ridley Brone returns to his Michigan hometown when he inherits his estranged parents' estate, along with a karaoke bar he doesn't have a clue how to manage. When ex-flame Autumn asks for his help, old feelings push him into a murder investigation that makes the karaoke bar feel like vacation compared to the hard work of proving Autumn's innocence.”
Last Call is the first in the Ridley Brone Mystery series.
When you’re reading a mystery, do you try to solve the mystery? Not only whodunit, but often the how and why too. If you’re like me, you do. How I judge the plot of the book depends on how well the author hides the final outcome and how he or she does it. If I’m only halfway done with the book and I’m sure the butler did it and have a good idea of why, I’m not going to be happy. I’ll also feel cheated if at the climax the villain makes their first appearance and we find out the details are all things that we had no idea about until then. We need to be able to look back and realize the clues were there for us to piece together, just like they were for the protagonist, but they can’t be so obvious that we figure it out too early.
Last Call hit the mark in this regard. At one point I thought I’d solved the mystery. I’d identified a motive and a likely culprit and done so too early. But what I saw was a “red herring.” It was a piece of the puzzle, but misleading. When the critical piece of the puzzle was revealed at an appropriate time, I realized I’d never seen it coming, yet the clues were there had I been able to put them together. This is how a mystery should be plotted.
I also liked the character of Ridley Brone. His flaws, as much as his talents, make him interesting. That he tries (and sometimes fails) to do the right thing makes him that much more human. This is a character that is a good foundation for Cornell’s planned series.
Unfortunately, Last Call also suffered from substandard copyediting and proofing, for which I deducted one star.
Some adult language and situations.
A large number of typos and other copyediting errors. These include some errors in names (Gladys Night instead of Knight and Santa’s last name is not Clause) as well as multiple issues with your and you’re.
Rating: *** Three stars