Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Series: Choker by Frederick Ramsay

I read another mystery in this series (Scone Island) earlier this summer and really enjoyed the characters of Ike Schwartz and his love Ruth Harris in that adventure set in Maine.  That was #8, and I wanted to go back to see how the series got started.  I saw this audio available, and grabbed it.  Sometimes it's better to start in the middle of a series rather than the beginning to get a feel for whether the character has developed enough to sustain ongoing episodes.

In this story, Ike, who is a retired CIA agent now serving as a small town sheriff in western Virginia, decides to take a real vacation staying in a house on the beach in Delaware.  No sooner does he get settled in however, then he is tracked down by his old CIA buddy Charley and asked to go investigate the disappearance of Charley's niece's fiancè when the airplane he was flying disappeared off the radar over the Chesapeake Bay.  Just before he lost contact, he had called his fiancee and told her to call her uncle.  What did he see before he crashed?  Ike reluctantly agrees to check into the "crash" and  is soon sucked into an intricate plot, on the trail of what may be a terrorist plot against the US.

In the meantime, back home, his deputy is dealing with a Satanic cult.................and it was here that Ramsay lost me.  At first I thought this cult was going to get tied into the terrorist story, but if it did I missed it.  The whole satanic thing was nothing but pure distraction.  I wonder if the author felt he didn't have enough in the main plot to carry a full-length book?  The main story was great and didn't need the side-bar that periodically popped up.  I hope that none of the others in the series have these kinds of "extras."

I enjoyed the main story, found it well-plotted, fast-paced and unfortunately, chillingly believable.  Trying to figure out whether the plane crashed or was somehow "brought down", trying to figure out what the pilot was frantically calling about before he was lost, who was responsible and whether Ike would come out of this adventure alive, kept me reading all night. Even with the satanic diversion, it was good enough to have me looking for another in the series.

Author: Frederick Ramsay
Publisher-Format: Blackstone Audio  8 hr 33 min
Year of publication: 2009
Narrator: Lloyd James
Subject: espionage, terror, satanism
Setting: Delmarva, Chesapeake Bay area
Series: Ike Schwartz Mysteries (book 5)
Genre: mystery, thriller, government agents
Source: public library download


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