3 out of 4 stars
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Mackinac Murder Mystery by Ronald Kutkowski is a captivating mystery novel that will keep you guessing until the end. The Stony Brook Academy class of 1983 celebrated their 30-year reunion at the glamorous Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan. The festivities were to last for several days. High school friends were reacquainted with one another, and they reminisced about their younger days. Leonard Morgan was a popular student when they were in school. However, he had a mean streak and bullied some of the other students. After college, Leonard became a jeweler who specialized in rare and valuable gems. Occasionally, he received stolen gems and was able to use his less-reputable contacts to make a sale. This is how he came across the Negombo Sapphire. He was able to locate a Canadian buyer for the gem and arranged to meet the buyer when he was in Michigan for his class reunion.
Chris Day is a private investigator who works for a law firm in Florida. He is traveling with his girlfriend, Eve Prescott, to a wedding at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. They arranged to stay for several days before the wedding because she is assisting the bride with the wedding preparations. Chris has been highly successful in his career and has solved many crimes. He is also a veteran who suffers from PTSD after the second Gulf War. He is seeing a doctor who is trying to help him with his nightmares. When someone is murdered, chaos descends upon the hotel. With so many people staying there, it will be difficult to narrow down the suspects. Was the person murdered in a random act or was it related to the stolen sapphire? Could the murder be related to events that happened at a prep school thirty years ago?
I enjoyed reading this book. It had me engrossed in the story from the very beginning. The descriptions of the fabulous hotel were vivid. They make the reader feel present in the story for all of the action. There were so many characters related to the wedding and the reunion; however, it was never difficult to keep them straight. The author did an excellent job of introducing each character and providing enough detail to avoid any confusion. Each character was well developed and added to the story. The police officers who investigated the crimes were realistic, especially their investigations of the crime scenes.
The author did an excellent job of unraveling the mystery. Chris Day is eventually hired by the hotel to investigate on their behalf. The reader is fed pieces of information gradually as the detectives and Chris Day begin investigating. I found the book difficult to put down as the investigations came closer to identifying the culprit. The character of Chris Day was my favorite part of the book. He is a genuinely nice guy who took a few days off work to escort his girlfriend to a family wedding when he is pulled into a complex criminal investigation. It was interesting to see his thought process and how he approached his investigation. He quickly learned more about the suspects and victim than the police were able to ascertain with all of the resources available to them.
The only aspect of the book that I disliked was the editing. There were several errors throughout the book. At times, it was distracting. With additional editing, this book would be worthy of a perfect rating. However, since there were over ten errors in the book, I give it a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. Despite the errors, the story was riveting and entertaining. I recommend it to readers who enjoy mystery novels and well-developed characters. I would be interested to read other mysteries involving Chris Day. He is a strong character, and his investigative skills were fascinating to read.
Mackinac Murder Mystery
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