by Barry Finlay
Former journalist Jake Scott is bored and lonely, having lost his wife and retired from his job. His daughter has moved with a boyfriend to another city. All that keeps him going is a weekly breakfast gathering with friends and a temperamental, overweight cat named Oliver. Things change when one of the breakfast attendees, a beautiful police detective with a troubled teenage daughter, suggests Jake should write a book. When he takes her advice and researches a convicted murderer’s case, he finds out something is terribly wrong. Could a member of the breakfast group be hiding a secret deadly enough to commit murder? Jake follows leads that uncover a disturbing rollercoaster ride of clues, all while his attraction for the detective grows. An attempt to force the true murderer out of hiding results in a terrifying ordeal on the coldest night of the year.
They used the next few minutes to discuss their future, ever watchful of the other car. The tension in Melissa’s body eased, comforted as she was by Matt’s words. She wasn’t a stunning beauty, but the smile that came readily to her face, and the dimples it created, attracted Matt from the beginning. She found the humor in anything, tonight being an exception. He found that incredibly attractive. The first time they met, when she patched him up in the hospital after a bicycle accident, the smile and her sense of humor drew him like metal to a magnet. She made him laugh by emphatically imagining a curb leaping in front of his bike at the last second. It took his mind off the pain. He noticed her wedding band only after he asked her out for coffee, and she accepted. He wondered if she took it off when she worked, but he never asked. The affair had been ongoing for months.
Her hands ran nervously through her hair as she talked about leaving her husband, but she continually glanced over Matt’s shoulder to see if the dark car had moved. Matt listened as she talked. He had heard it all before, and he didn’t actually believe it. Melissa was too timid to walk out on her husband. She was too afraid of what her husband might do if she left him. But he listened, nodding at the right time, and deliberately, tantalizingly, letting his fingers wander under her skirt.
Melissa stopped him. She said, “Matt, listen to me. I have a plan this time. We will be together. I’m going to leave him.”
Her voice trailed off as a sharp knock on the window startled them. Neither had noticed the man approaching from the black Mercedes. It wasn’t a hand knocking. It was something metallic rapping against the glass that set both their hearts racing. Melissa gasped. Matt turned to peer at the intruder, but a piercing flashlight beam blinded him. He threw one arm up to block the light while he pressed the button to roll down the power window. Nothing happened because he had turned off the car.
It didn’t matter.
Searching for Truth is the first book in the Jake Scott mystery series. In this book we are introduced to Jake Scott, a retired journalist whose wife died and whose daughter has moved to another city. He meets weekly with a group of friends for breakfast, and one of them suggests that he write a book. She has an idea for the book too. She wants him to write about one of her former cases that she isn’t was properly investigated. A man is in prison for a crime he may not have committed. Jake is drawn into the book, and he begins to investigate. And things start to happen.
Jake is likable and easy to relate to.The other characters in the book are also well developed. The plot is intriguing and believable. The setting is perfectly drawn. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading.
While the book has many elements of a cozy mystery, I think I’d just classify it as a mystery myself. But whatever you call it it was a good read that I enjoyed very much. I’m looking forward to another Jake Scott Mystery. I’d give it 5 out of 5 stars.