Father Knows Death: A Stay at Home Dad Mystery
Stay-at-home dad Deuce Winters returns for a third mystery in this well-written amateur sleuth story. While working with a partner in an investigations firm, Deuce currently is not looking for any cases to solve as his wife is due with their second child any day now. He is simply working at the food booth at the fair when he discovers a body in the meat freezer. Fair board members ask him to find out what happened so the tragedy won’t interfere with the biggest revenue generator in Rose Petal, thus he feels bound to discover who killed George Spellman.
"The tension of the crime, along with the impending birth of Deuce’s second child, keep the plot moving at a fast clip. Jeffrey Allen excels at adding humor in the style of Laura Levine' works..."
George had been involved with running the fair as well, and Deuce soon learns that he had a relationship with one of the board members and was trying to uncover a plot to sell the land hosting the fair. The rest of the fair board want answers, but none will admit to knowing George well. Deuce is also visited by a pair of local Earth enthusiasts who are upset by a company offering money to frack the land for gas resources. George was involved in helping them, too. When a motorcycle group member also talks to Deuce about George’s participation in their group, he realizes that few knew George well at all.
Deuce’s father is offered a huge sum of money for his land to be fracked, and Deuce learns that several of his friends have accepted the offer. The fair land itself seems to be of interest to many people, and Deuce and his partner have to uncover several layers to determine who owns it and how it is involved in the crime, if at all.
In the midst of talking to people, Deuce continues to try and work at the fair, keep his uncomfortable wife happy, and care for their six-year-old daughter, Carly. In many amateur sleuth series, the woman is the detective and has people to babysit the children while she’s off solving crimes. In this refreshing approach, Deuce fits in bathtimes, a poker game, visits with his parents, massages for his wife’s feet, and more real-life interruptions, making the story realistic and fun without slowing the progress of the case.
The tension of the crime, along with the impending birth of Deuce’s second child, keep the plot moving at a fast clip. Jeffrey Allen excels at adding humor in the style of Laura Levine's works, especially in the interactions with Deuce’s wife, Julianne, and his partner, Victor. The fair board and townspeople are extreme caricatures that evolve well as secrets and motivations are revealed, allowing for humor and depth. FATHER KNOWS DEATH is perfect for summer, before readers head off to the local fairs.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio on June 14, 2013