White Whisker Books: 8/15/2014
Trade Paperback, 180 pages
In A Death in Vegas, the president of BenBugs, a company that specializes in beneficial bugs for organic gardening, discovers a young woman dead in his Las Vegas hotel suite. She had worked as a sexy lady bug at his convention booth—and he had nothing to do with her death. While that’s being investigated, the FBI raids his booth on a money-laundering scam that he knows nothing about, either. Soon, the coroner doesn’t have good news. The police and FBI are against him—and his wife cannot be found. Is someone setting him up? He flees to find the answers.
A Death in Vegas by Christopher Meeks is a highly recommended crime novel in which a murder suspect becomes the investigator.
Patton Burch is attending the lawn and garden show in Vegas representing BenBugs, a company he owns that specializes in beneficial bugs for organic gardeners. He has hired a model, who calls herself Chatterly Langstrump, as a sexy lady-bug girl for his booth, hoping to attract business. It seems to be working, so when Patton sort of bumbles into Chatterly at a restuarant after that first day, they end up having dinner together... and end up back in his room when Chatterly is having an asthma attack and needs to lay down. The next morning, after nothing untoward happened the night before, Patton wakes up and discovers Chatterly is dead. Naturally, even when it looks like she died from an asthma attack, Patton is the main suspect.
Patton is sure that the police aren't really working on investigating who Chatterly really is, why she is using an alias, and who wants to kill her, so he goes rogue, after contacting his lawyer, and tries to run his own investigation to discover the answers. At the same time, when Patton tries to explain the situation to his wife, she doesn't believe nothing happened with the bug girl, so she takes off. The trouble multiplies when Patton discovers that the new financier for BenBugs that his wife has made an arrangement with has actually involved them in a money laundering scheme being investigated by the FBI. Hopefully he can find his wife and figure out the financing scheme too, while he's trying to discover Chatterly's identity and who killed her.
You can always count on Christopher Meeks for a well written novel; this time Meeks excells at bringing almost a farcical edge to the humor in A Death in Vegas. The comicality makes this crime novel feel more like a madcap adventure in an old comedy movie with Cary Grant, like Bringing up Baby, or The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer. Patton is managing to investigate the murder and he is getting answers, but even when the action is getting tense, there is an element of humor right beneath the surface. Yes, this is a murder mystery, but you will find yourself laughing or smiling your way through this novel. (Actually, once you discover the bug girl is going by the alias of Chatterly Langstrump, you should realize that humor will have a large role in this novel.)
While I did enjoy this latest by Meeks, I must admit that Blood Drama is still my favorite book by Christopher Meeks - to date.
Thanks to Christopher Meeks for providing my review copy. As always I'm pleased to participate in a Virtual Author Book Tour too.
VABT Schedule and excerpt