Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hitting the Mark

This is a bit of a departure for me, but with the first review in for my fifth Greg McKenzie mystery, I decided to feature it in today's blog. The review is written by Larry W. Chavis for The GenReview. The site is devoted to reviewing genre fiction, which it describes this way:

"Referred to as 'popular fiction' by many (and as 'trash' by some snooty members of the pseudo-intelligentsia), the term genre fiction usually connotes stories written primarily for their entertainment value.  While this may seem to be a very broad definition, what is implicit is that the genre fiction story or novel is mainly intended to pass the time rather than expand your consciousness."

Having said that, the site adds, "the line between genre fiction and so-called 'literary fiction' is a very fine one and often is obscured.  Certainly The Maltese Falcon is genre fiction, but it also explores the dark side of the human psyche and what drives people to do what they do.  So, it’s not always clear-cut.  However, while most authors of genre fiction would be pleased to have their work called 'literary,' most authors of literary fiction would be offended to have their work described as genre fiction."

Here's the review of A Sporting Murder:

In the week before Christmas rumors have surfaced that something is amiss with a proposed deal to bring a National Basketball Association franchise to Nashville. Local P. I. Greg McKenzie, with his wife and partner, Jill, are hired to investigate by a group of hockey fans opposed to the NBA’s coming, fearing loss of the hockey team’s fan base.  An informant promises information on the deal that will “blow your mind,” but turns up shot in the face instead. Is his murder the result of being in the wrong part of town or connected to the case? Greg and Jill determine to find out.

But this will be no ordinary Christmas week. Besides the murder and Greg’s finding the body, an old case rears it head in the person of a former Air Force lieutenant whom Greg had helped convict of drug-dealing back in his days as an OSI investigator. He’s out of prison, and still carrying a grudge. As the book moves along at a fast pace, the McKenzies are hard-pressed to unravel the events and dangers into which they are thrust. Are they connected to the NBA deal or to Greg’s old enemy? We are kept guessing until the disparate threads all come together on Christmas Day in a rousing and satisfying climax.

Readers of Mr. Campbell’s previous books will be pleased to be back in his Nashville with Greg and Jill McKenzie. His writing is clean and spare, giving us enough sense of place and character to feel as if we’ve settled in with friends, and then in turn ratcheting up the tension and suspense. Greg McKenzie is not a hard-boiled private investigator, but he’s tough and smart, well aware of the qualities Jill brings to the partnership. The way the case plays out against the backdrop of their lives gives them a genuineness that makes the reader feel these would be good folks to spend an afternoon with - or to have along in a gun fight. Once again, Campbell has hit the mark.

Copyright 2010 Larry W. Chavis

The book will be available in early fall. It can be pre-ordered at

No comments: