Reviewer Karen Dahood : Karen lives in Tucson, AZ. After 35 years as a writer for businesses and nonprofits, she has turned to writing mysteries,the subtext of which addresses ageism, unpreparedness for aging, and America's wealth of experience and wisdom. Learn more about eldersleuth Sophie George at the Website Moxie Cosmos; Making Sense of Life Through Writing.
Author: Rosemary Reeve
Publisher: Independently Published, 1996
Author: Rosemary Reeve
Publisher: Independently Published
Rosemary Reeve graduated from Harvard Law with all the right credentials -- and a series of mysteries she wrote to entertain her mother. Now they are available in Kindle format to entertain us. She has succeeded mightily (all five-star reviews) with brilliant wit and well-honed prose, plus a devilishly clever mind for surprising us. Her protagonist, Jack Hart, is an eager young lawyer in an established Seattle firm who is being mentored by the daughter of the founder. His obvious respect for Harmony Piper as a real person underneath the fancy giftwrap is the first good quality that endears him to this female reader. The second is his devotion to a stray 90-pound dog “the shape of a beagle, the size and power of a Rottweiler, and the coloring of a chow” who needs a human to guard. Then we learn Jack has had a tough life as an abandoned kid who was moved around in foster care and an unspeakably evil group home. It is at that point we realize this is not a superficial series of whodunnits, but an entry into a world of failed social services.
Reeve has published four books so far (not counting one on tomatoes). ALL GOOD THINGS, book 1, begins with the disappearance of Harmony from her office after hours. We quickly meet Mark Oden, a cop who shares a similar background to Jack, and soon we are diving even deeper into a corrupted society. Seattle’s identity as a world port puts it on the edge of global intrigue. Higuro Yamashita, influential Tokyo businessman, is an important recurring character. For all its sordid sophistication, the series continually draws us back to Seattle in the 1990s, still a wholesome city in the pristine American Northwest where the ordinary people are generally kind and helpful. (“Welcome to the King County Courthouse. Please unload guns and remove ski masks before entering.”)
NO GOOD DEED, book 2, is about Mark, who is accused of police brutality and needs his lawyer friends’ help to avoid being convicted of murder. Balancing that act is Jack and Harmony’s sweet attraction to one another. The atmospheric Book 3, ONLY THE GOOD, introduces Jack’s father and a paper mill he owned. Jack meets his father’s other family and we discover Orcas Island. Book 4, DEAD WEIGHT, takes on the unlikeliest subject of a women who strangely committed suicide after dieting and buying new clothes. Jack’s client is refusing to pay on her life insurance policy, acquainting the reader with yet another industry and also cross-dressing.
Reeve so clearly knows her intended profession. Harmony is not just an amazing prosecutor but an amazing wit. In one scene she uses as many canine references as she can while interrogating a shyster who tried to delay the trial because his dog had emergency surgery. Such extended prose and legal precision add to the length of the novel, which can be frustrating when you are breathless for action. But Reeve also knows a lot about human nature, which I suppose also comes with the territory. The friendship that keeps Jack, Harmony and Mark living together like siblings is enviable. Reeves’ invention of Jack’s flawed mother is highly original. For most of the series you wonder why he pays the rent for this floozie who likes “booze, drugs, sharp clothes, sparkly things” and who abandoned him. That is part of the tension. (Just like real life?)