Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wentworth M. Johnson's Damp Graves

Damp Graves by Wentworth M. Johnson is the fourth installment in the wildly popular Bill Reyner Mystery Adventure series, reprising the beloved characters of Bill, Newf, and Gran for another adventure. When Jean Williams, a chocolate heiress, goes missing, her father offers a $1 million reward for information leading to her whereabouts. Despite Bill's initial misgivings about pursuing the case, and even about continuing to be a detective at all, Newf persuades him to search for the missing Williams girl.

Jean is not the only disappearance; several others have seemingly vanishing into thin air, and it is up to Bill to uncover the fate of the missing girls, in spite of the challenges posed by Jean's temperamental father, who is curiously reticent in providing him with any information. Bill is thrust into the center of another riveting mystery that is certain to keep readers spellbound throughout the suspenseful plot, filled with twists, turns, and challenges to Bill's investigation. As he gets deeper into the investigation, he realizes the truly diabolical nature of his opponent, who manages to outwit him at every turn; the plot simultaneously grows more intriguing and more dangerous for Bill.

Johnson is a master of suspense and once again showcases his prowess for interweaving the comical with a compelling plot, as Bill flashes his library card when on "official business," muses about how much he likes to keep Newf around to make him feel superior, and Gran's sarcastic chastisement. As the story progresses, readers are left biting their nails and sitting at the edges of their seats, completely engrossed throughout Johnson's work. Readers who enjoyed Fiend's Gold, Mania, and Edinburgh Cuckoos, as well as readers who simply enjoy a good mystery adventure, will find Damp Graves to be utterly compelling. This story inevitably leaves readers anxious for the release of the next Billy Reyner novel, Lions and Christians.