by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Room for Doubt, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
When Los Angeles KNST News Sports and Talk reporter Carol Childs is called to the iconic Hollywood Sign, it’s not a publicity stunt for a starlet or opening movie. Instead, the body of a nude man has been found hanging like a crucifix in the middle of the sign, a death that is quickly declared by the police as a suicide. Carol can’t help but voice her doubts, as not only did she just see the gym rat hitting on an enamored young woman at a grocery store, but why would an obviously vain man kill himself while wearing a red clown nose?
With the radio station recently having undergone an overhaul and she being the newest reporter on the block, Carol is hungry for a story that will make both her listeners and the station owners happy. It’s the only reason why she’s willing to listen to a private investigator who claims that the hanged Bruno Sims was one of three men to have disappeared or died in bizarre manners. Despite Carol’s disbelief, Gerhardt “Chase” Chasen manages to con his way onto a live segment of her show, enlisting numerous clients to call in to testify that their loved ones have been murdered. As infuriated as Carol was to have been had her show hijacked, conspiracy theories prove to be far more popular with listeners—and the new General Manager—than boring city council updates, so she shouldn’t have been too surprised when she becomes the host of a more woman-focused call-in show. For it was just after Chase’s interruption that Mustang Sally phoned in, declaring that some men deserved to die and that women weren’t going to take it anymore.
When Carol’s follow-up with a retiring LAPD detective ends horrifically, she is forced to put aside her doubts as she begins to make connections to even more deaths. The trail leads her to men with recent ugly breakups, yet that takes a turn in a shocking direction, and it is not one she is sure she should follow. The line between justice and the law becomes blurred, as do those between victims and victimizers.
A single mother with a daughter off at college and a son in high school, Carol has a habit of picking up strays that will prevent her from ever having an empty nest. It explains how Misty Dawn, a now-homeless psychic to the stars, is camped out in Carol’s guest room as her housekeeper/gardener. What could have been an irritating situation is instead far more comforting and helpful than anyone could have expected, as the forgetful pseudo-psychic proves to be adept at outmaneuvering an intrusive detective. The question of what is right and wrong is not easily answered, and Carol discovers that her moral compass definitely wavers.
As weighty as the themes may become, they are always lightened by Carol’s undeniably wit and sharp inner monologue. Behind-the-scenes glimpses into a radio show are equally as fun, as are the depictions of Carol’s unconventional household. Chase definitely grows on Carol, and readers will find him just as intriguing as his compulsion to deliver for his clients explains his intent on intruding in Carol’s life. While his charm is undeniable, it is Carol who ultimately carries out justice in the most satisfying manner possible.
Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.
To enter to win a copy of Room For Doubt, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “room,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 5, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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