Fans of Glen Erik Hamilton's Van Shaw mysteries may want to pick up Robert J. Mrazek's Dead Man's Bridge. The protagonist is an Army veteran, courtmartialed after his tour in Afghanistan. But, Jake Cantrell is in the tradition of Robert B. Parker's tough, ex-veterans with a heart of gold. And, the book is a fast-paced, riveting story.
After his court martial, Jake returns to upstate New York where he went to college. He brings with him Bug, half-wolf, half-dog, a female he's still tending to after bringing her home. The only job he can get, thanks to a friend, is working campus security at St. Andrews College. His boss hates him; he drinks too much, and spends too much time at a local bar. But, even in his state, he knows the man found hanging from a footbridge on the campus did not kill himself. However, it's alumni weekend, and everyone else, from his boss to the local sheriff wants to call it suicide. When Jake tells the man's widow that he was murdered, he's suspended.
A suspension gives Jake time to look into a case of blackmail, but his suspension doesn't last long. When the dead man's best friend is found hanging from the same bridge, security needs his knowledge and skills. Teaming up with a local reporter, Jake realizes the story of the murders may link to the past. Now, Jake Cantrell has to deal with a killer, a blackmailer, and handle both cases with a Sunday deadline. But, the hurricane bearing down on the campus doesn't care about deadlines.
Jake Cantrell is a flawed hero, but, as said before, a man with a heart of gold. This riveting story kicks off a new series. Fast-paced, exciting, and with a terrific hero. What more do you want?
Robert J. Mrazek's website is http://www.robertjmrazek.com
Dead Man's Bridge by Robert J. Mrazek. Crooked Lane Books. 2017. ISBN 9781683312697 (hardcover), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.