By: Bob Moats
Genre: Mystery, Christmas
Publication date: 10.31.2013
Date read: 12.25.2013
Recommended by: Read 2 Review
Summary: That Jolly old head elf from the North Pole is getting ready to be a naughty boy. He has murder on his mind. Luckily it's not the real Santa Claus, but a person with a motive to murder. Las Vegas Homicide Detective Deacon DeAngelo goes after a street preacher who loves to play Santa for the homeless shelters. Evidence ties this Santa to the murder of a mob figure and now Will Trapper is called on to prove his Santa friend didn't do it. Trapper manages to talk Jim Richards into helping to find the real killer while they hide the fake Santa which doesn't make Deacon happy. He threatens them to find the real killer or go to jail for obstruction of justice. It's like the twelve days of Christmas around the preacher's church with police, mob figures, a fortune in hidden money and one scheming black widow female who traps the Santa into marriage to get at his wealth since he owns a choice property that every one wants for building casinos on. It's a Vegas Christmas in this 31st book of the Jim Richards series.
This is the 31st book in the series, but the first one I have read. When it comes to r2r books, I want ones that I will enjoy - a mystery at Christmas time?!?! This was one that I just could not pass up. Especially when you find out that a good guy, though not always a smart guy, who dresses up as Santa, helps the homeless and is a preacher to boot is being set up for murdering a mob boss. This had fun written all over it.
As with all mysteries, I jumped in from the very beginning and immediately became immersed in their world and the case they were trying to solve. Having not read the first thirty books of the series, I was unfamiliar with some of the relationships (I actually have bought others of the series on previous occasions and look forward to going back and reading them to learn more about these people and how they got together) but it did not stop me from enjoying the book and I actually caught on to things pretty quick.
It was a fun book with the typical twists and turns of a mystery novel, one of the things that I love so much about this genre. The characters were fun, but some seemed kind of 2-dimensional, but this could have been because of my lack of knowledge on them as individuals (another reason that I need to go back and read some of the beginning ones).
There was only one problem that I had with this book, one thing that made it a 4 instead of a 5, and that was the first person story telling. I'm not really a fan, though I have read books where they did it beautifully. This, however, was a little jarring - sometimes he knows things he can't possibly know and sometimes he repeats things that someone just said, which makes reading the story a little tedious. I would still recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries, though, because it was definitely a book I enjoyed.
Favorite character: I liked Jim. He's a great PI and I like the relationship he has with his wife and with his "family" of investigators. He's got a homeless man that he helped get off the streets (and an idea to help other homeless people do the same), a group of people he works with and a dog. It makes the whole story seem more homey and personal. I also liked Harold, even though there were a few times I wanted to just walk up and shake him, yell at him - but I'm sure that the author wanted this feeling when he wrote him.
Favorite line: "'If any creatures jump out, stop them.' I knew he was referring to the Narnia books about the magic wardrobe."