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4 out of 4 stars
Review by David Nash
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The first three books should be classed as thrillers rather than as mysteries. From an early point in the story the reader will likely have a good idea who the murderer is. The detective, Ray Courage, is usually not too far behind your own conclusions. As a result, Ray is more often chasing proof rather than trying to determine who the killer is. However, in each successive story the plots become more intricate. Characters become more identifiable, and conflict outcomes become less predictable. By the fourth book, I was working hard solve the mystery, and I found the ending satisfying.
Mackey’s engaging writing style had me forgetting time. I enjoyed reading the stories from the opening lines. Occasionally, when forced to stop reading, I felt myself compelled to continue. I wanted to resume – to find out what would happen next – the mark of any great read.
Each story takes the main character, Ray Courage, further into the dark world of the private investigator. He loses friends. He makes enemies. He faces blackmail, betrayal, and crimes of passion, greed, and revenge. For Ray, a former college professor, the journey is not linear, and not pleasant.
The editing, though not perfect, is well done. In a series that runs over 900 pages, I only found a few minor errors - not enough to detract or distract from the stories.
I think readers will enjoy is Ray’s deliberations as he tries to solve the crimes. He evolves from seeing simple solutions in earlier novels to more complex motivations as the series progresses and his choices do not always yield perfect results.
Taken as a whole, I give the series a 4 out of 4 stars. However, if you only read the early works you may be disappointed, as the early crimes may prove too simple for sophisticated mystery readers. However, I would encourage you to read them all to see the growth of an interesting character and for the great writing style. I look forward to reading more by the author and I believe you will too.
Ray Courage Mystery Series Boxed Set (1-4)
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