Rhapsody In Red (a Preston Barclay Mystery, Book 1) by Donn Taylor ~ a review as a tribute to US military veterans

A Rhapsody in Red

What a great main character ~

Preston “Press” Barclay, PhD is retired US Army, special operations and is a professor of history in a quasi-Christian university that at one time was a true Christian college. The powers that be at the school, in an attempt to be ‘inclusive’, removed the crosses off the buildings and hired a Mara Thorn, a Wiccan, to teach religious studies. They also made quite a few other politically correct changes that irk Press Barclay.

Mystery novels and thrillers are awash in retired spec ops main characters hunting down the bad guy(s) and solving crimes. In the overwhelming number of cases, the authors depict these US veteran main characters in an honorable light. Press Barclay is certainly an honorable man, and he searches for a killer while reciting lines from classic literature as well as from the Greek classics. It’s refreshing to see a military veteran portrayed in that way…and in this novel this particular scenario is often humorous.

On that note…what a great story. The author’s use of subtle wit woven throughout the plotline often had me grinning. Press has an enemy hailing back to his days in the military…police Captain Clyde Staggart. When Press and Mara find the body of fellow Professor Laila Sloan, Staggart sees this as an opportunity to hang the murder on Press. If he also charges Mara with the murder, thems the breaks. Staggart completely disregards that Professor Sloan had more than a few enemies of her own. So, Press and Mara take matters into their own hands and begin their own under the radar murder investigation. They break laws (breaking and entering, among others), rules (stealing one of the university’s pass keys), and angering all of their colleagues on campus. Press is attacked and knocked out, Mara’s car is bombed, they are chased by hired killers and wind up hiding out in a motel. Then to add insult to injury, they’re both suspended from their jobs at the university.

Press spends every Wednesday night in utter despair battling music that runs unbidden through his head as he mourns the loss of his pianist wife Faith. It’s become a ritual he observes but can not control. The music can turn from an adagio to sudden discord. These are internal musical hallucinations, a malady he shares with Beethoven.  These hallucinations can often be jarring, have a sweetness, even humor.

This novel is perfect for the reader who loves literary witticism, high jinks, and a riveting sleuthing all from a Christian perspective.

ribbon-greenAOM Cover  US special ops veterans now under the auspices of a quasi-clandestine organization search for who in the deep state brutally killed Lavender Raines husband. Retired Marine Raider Mackey feels overprotective of her though she seems to disdain him.  ACTS OF MALICE

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