It’s Hard to Go Home…
February 24, 2012
I first met W.S. Gager at a PSWA conference a few years back. Wendy has a friendly smile and an engaging personality—I couldn’t not like her! That being said, I have been very negligent in diving into her Mitch Malone series. Not because I haven’t wanted to, but my to-be-read pile—which now includes Kindle books—is towering, physically and electronically. But after the fictional Mitch Malone and Hubert James Champion III had a “chat”[i] during our Mystery We Write Blog Tour, I wanted to know Mitch better, so A Case of Hometown Blues moved to the top. I ignored all the things I thought I “had” to do, even closed the door on my dogs—trauma for them!— and curled up with what I expected was going to be a good book.
I was not disappointed. Admittedly, I’m fond of introspective male protagonists. It also helps Mitch is a “good” guy. Someone I can root for. And I like past traumas, childhood memories, old acquaintances—all those things that affect us real people—as fictional character and plot motivators. Consequently, I enjoyed A Case of Hometown Blues very much. The story was interesting, well paced, and Wendy’s writing style is smooth and easy to read. And though I’m usually not immediately drawn to first-person, Mitch’s[ii] POV is broad, analytic, and never gets in the way. Quite skillfully done, I thought. I read Mitch’s adventure on my Kindle, which allowed me to make note of passages and sections I particularly liked. Rereading those sections before writing this review again brought smiles of enjoyment. Kudos, Wendy!
Mitch’s going home was also special for me because I’m a Midwest and environs native—so I was going home with Mitch. (I’ve never attended a reunion—don’t think I could take it!)
When Wendy visited during our recent blog tour, she said:
“I want readers to smile and then buy all my other books. (smile) I also want readers to hit their forehead with the palm of their hand and say, “why didn’t I see that” as the bad guy is revealed. I want them to think about the story and realize all the clues were there but laid out so innocuously that their importance wasn’t apparent until the villain is unmasked. I want people to enjoy my books as much as I enjoyed Nancy Drew and the Agatha Christie mysteries.”
Mission accomplished, Wendy. If you’re looking for an enjoyable adventure with a feel for place and character motivation, I think you’ll find it in A Case of Hometown Blues.
W.S. Gager has lived in Michigan for most of her life except when she was interviewing race car drivers or professional woman’s golfers. She enjoyed the fast-paced life of a newspaper reporter until deciding to settle down and realized babies didn’t adapt well to running down story details on deadline. Since then she honed her skills on other forms of writing before deciding to do what she always wanted with her life and that was to write mystery novels. Her main character is Mitch Malone who is an edgy crime-beat reporter always on the hunt for the next Pulitzer and won’t let anyone stop him, supposedly.
[ii] Mitch is also quite fond of his journalistic accomplishments—and rightly so. The opening scene is lovely. (Loved Biff and Bob)