Title: The Obituary Page
Author: David Ackley
A stagnant case suddenly comes back to life when Robert Armlin’s cell phone shows up on the body of a Portland vagrant. Armlin, the missing Oregon Sentinel opinion page editor who was presumed to have met a bad end, becomes once again one of detective Galen Young’s primary assignments. The appearance of a ransom note only serves to increase the Portland Police Bureau’s suspicions that Armlin may still be alive but in danger.
At the same time, Galen becomes enmeshed in complications arising from a routine missing persons case. Erin Roberts was reported missing but returned home to her husband after a brief but failed affair. The news a short time later of her death from a rainy night hit-and-run comes as an unexpected shock to the detective. Nothing strikes him as suspicious about her death, however, until Galen happens to read her obituary. A single out-of-place sentence leads the detective on a search for Erin’s suspected killer – along a twisted and increasingly perilous trail.
His approaching mandatory retirement age from the Bureau, his own health, and caring for his incarcerated daughter’s sons are difficult enough, but Portland’s street demonstrations over George Floyd’s death, the global pandemic, and the detective’s unraveling home life only serve to further exacerbate problems for detective Galen Young.
Be advised: The Obituary Page is a standalone sequel to The Opinion Page but contains spoilers to that earlier mystery.
A creative and well-written murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing. In 10 or 15 years, this book will qualify as historical fiction. The setting is so well presented the reader will find themself in protest torn, covid infected Portland. The detailed setting will be unsettling for those who have bad memories of the last couple of years but fear not. Many an evocative work has been set during the Blitz in London. This is the modern approach to this kind of fiction.
Galen is an excellent detective soon reaching the end of his professional road. The character is very likable. The secondary characters shine and can each enhance the reader's interest in this story. Character building can be a tricky thing but this author nails it with aplomb.
Gripping and original, this book will appeal to all fans of crime mystery. I have read likely hundreds of this type of book and there are parts here that were new to me. A very entertaining mystery that keeps the reader guessing ‘til close to the end. Heartfelt and warm at the same time. This book will be a treasured read for many and be re-read over and over. A wonderful addition to the crime mystery family.
My Rating: 5 stars
Buy it Now:
Amazon paperback: The Obituary Page: Ackley, David: 9781950631025: Amazon.com: Books
David Ackley grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska and raised a family in Juneau. His professional career in Alaska included both fisheries biometrics and management positions with the state and federal governments. He’s earned Master’s degrees in Chinese Language and Literature (Wisconsin), and in Fisheries Science (Alaska). David is now retired and living in northern Idaho, where he began a small business in lutherie – building guitars, Irish bouzoukis, and ukuleles (www.dastringedinstruments.com). The lutherie business has flagged somewhat while he gets some stories out of his head. Please visit the Rain and Breeze Books website, www.rainandbreeze.com, for more information about David and his books.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N