Title : Enigma
Author : Lloyd A. Meeker
Publisher : Wilde City Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 18,000 words (e-book)
Published : August 28, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
Who’s blackmailing the high-profile televangelist whose son was famously cured of his homosexuality fifteen years ago? Now in 2009, that ought to be ancient history.
It seems there’s no secret to protect, no crime, not even a clear demand for money—just four threatening letters using old Enigma songs from the 90′s. But they’ve got Reverend Howard Richardson spooked.
Proudly fifty and unhappily single, gay PI Russ Morgan has made peace with being a psychic empath, and he’s managed to build a decent life since getting sober. As he uncovers obscene secrets shrouded in seeming righteousness he might have to make peace with a sword of justice that cuts the innocent as deeply as the guilty.
Russ Morgan lands himself a gay hating client. Oh joy. Russ has the “privilege” of being the detective chosen because he’s gay and has knowledge of the subculture. After signing a bunch of legally binding non-disclosure agreements Russ learns a local televangelist believes he’s being blackmailed because of his son’s gay past. And it is a gay past. He was cured of being gay and of course now someone is out to attempt to discredit him and destroy everything the televangelist has worked to build. The only problems seems to be everyone is lying and hiding something. Being an empath makes solving the case a bit easier for Russ. Being an empath also made being an alcoholic easy for Russ. His past troubles are keeping him from moving forward despite longing to regain the kind of relationship he’s lost. As the case progresses, Russ easily spots obvious clues to which the other’s have blinded themselves either because of faith or a misplaced and egotistical sense of infallibility and pride. Unfortunately, every Christian should realize pride goes before destruction.
This was a superbly written story that packed significant character building for Russ into 18,000 words. I would be tempted to say that was the whole point of the story. I’m quite okay with that. One thing with which I wasn’t quite okay was the unreserved badness of the bad guy. I found him to be ludicrously over the top. I will happily be among the first to admit the overwhelming majority of religious leaders are crooks in one manner or the other, but this man was nothing but a crook. In every way possible he was bad. There was no shade of gray to make him compelling. He was bad and could be dismissed. Whereas Russ was nuanced and interesting, some of the other characters came off as two dimensional and vaguely stereotypical. Given the quality of the writing I found myself disappointed in the characters who were not Russ. But Russ was compelling, and I find I can’t write the story off. I will most certainly be interested in the next installment of The Russ Morgan Mysteries.
Rated 4 stars by Faye