By Kenneth Cameron


Publisher: Felony & Mayhem Press  (July 7, 2019, c2012)
Format: Trade Paperback
Price: $14.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-63194-197-9

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*** This book is available for pre-order at online book sources.


Denton (Book 4)


Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(June, 2019)


1902: Naples. Denton (no other name) is an American writer living in London. Psychics, mediums, and other means of communicating with the dead are all the rage, and Denton plans to cash in by writing a book about it. Back in dreary London, sunny Naples seemed to be just the place to do so. The reality is that it rains in Naples too, and the pensione* he and his lover, Mrs. Helen Striker, are currently residing in leaves a lot to be desired. The mediums and psychics turn out to be a bunch of phonies and conmen, or in most cases, conwomen.

One evening he is accosted by a smelly, filthy old man dressed in a grimy robe and sandals. In a startling upper class English accent, he tells Denton that his name is Gerald Sommers, now going by the name Fra Geraldo, and he needs help from the man who’s researching spirits. “I’m being haunted … they’re trying to kill me.” Denton considers sending the old fellow on his way, but he has a soft spot in his heart for the downtrodden. He agrees to meet Geraldo later to discuss why he thinks tortured children want him dead.

The next time he sees Fra Geraldo, the old man is dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs in his decrepit palazzo. The police are quick to write it off as a tragic accident, but Denton has his doubts. There are others who share his opinion, including the new Lord Easleigh. Fra Geraldo was the former lord, but he gave up the aristocratic life in England to atone for sins committed decades ago.

The new Lord Easleigh, a seventeen-year-old boy from Birmingham, sends a private investigator to find out if his cousin might have been the victim of foul prey. Mr. Cherry uses some high-tech police equipment and determines that it was nothing but a sad accident. The police seem content to close the case, but Denton is still not satisfied. He sets off alone on an investigation that takes him from Naples to England and back again.

Denton is a flawed but multilayered protagonist, carrying guilt over the belief that he drove his first wife to suicide, agonizing over his relationship with the mercurial Mrs. Striker because she cannot love him as much as he does her, unsure whether he has the talent to write the books he came to Italy to complete. He has a hair-trigger temper to match his nickname, Texas Jack, king of the Wild West shows. He severely beat a street urchin for stealing from him, but risks his life to save the same boy when he is in peril. The other characters are equally well-rounded and unique. The sights, sounds, and smells of Naples, the beauty and the ugliness of the ancient city, come alive on the page. This is the fourth in the intriguing Denton series. Recommended.   




* Pensione — a small hotel or boarding house in Italy.


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