22 January 2010

Book Review: The Ruthless Realtor Murders by David A. Kaufelt

The Ruthless Realtor Murders (A Wyn Lewis Mystery)
by David A. Kaufelt

Publisher: Pocket Books; 1997
ISBN: 1416502998
Paperback: 244 pages
Genre: Mystery
Source: Purchased at Dollar General.
Time to read: 12 days
aStore Link: The Ruthless Realtor Murders

| Enjoyability: 3 | Readability: H | Characterization: 2 | Overall: C- |
(Traditional Rating: 2 Stars)

Wynsome Lewis is a thirtysomething realtor in fictional Waggs Neck Harbor, New York, where realty and money are on everyone's minds.  Some shady property deals have led to two women being strangled to death with pantyhose years earlier; now another realtor is dead, and the killer is still at large.  As one of the "Ruthless Realtors" connected to a particularly questionable real estate venture, Wyn discovers that she is very likely on the vengeful murderer's list.  Lecherous big city Detective Pasko, in an attempt to reclaim public reputation, investigates the town's curious characters to narrow down the potential suspects.  His plan leads to using Wyn as bait, but she would rather try to figure out the case herself.

My Reaction
It took me a long time to get into this book.  Out of the 29 chapters, I didn't really get interested in solving the mystery until about Chapter 16.  Before then, I could barely read two chapters at a time.  I really never warmed up to the main character, Wyn Lewis.  Since this was the third in the series of Kaufelt's Wyn Lewis series, I wonder if perhaps I missed some character development in the previous two books.  By the end of the book, though, I did finally warm up to her.  I really liked her husband more, even though he was basically a male paragon, but the book was not about him.

Pasko had no redeeming qualities about him, and he was one of the "good guys."  The necessary "bad cop" and tough guy from the streets, Pasko was to me more of a bother to have to read.  His diametric opposite, Captain Homer Price, was another character I enjoyed and would have loved to read more about.  Unfortunately, his role in the story fizzled out in the end.  I did find a few of the other characters mildly endurable, but that's about it.

My least favorite part of the book was the way a few of the characters would say "like" as in "Like I need this inconvenience!"  It may be a way of talking in New York, or perhaps I was reading it with the wrong intonation in my head.  But it always seemed to me that the multiple times Kaufelt used that idiom was like hearing your grandmother say "cool" or "internet" with an awkward, not contextually accurate word placement.

I was satisfied with the ending, partly because it did end, but also because Kaufelt did keep the mystery pretty suspenseful throughout, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.  All in all, it was not a total waste of time to read.  If I could go back, I think I might have read the beginning of the series first.

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