Rating: 5 stars
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Enigma (A Russ Morgan Mystery) by Lloyd A. Meeker is an incredibly well written mystery that is intelligent, intricately woven, and rich in characterization. The story centers on an older private investigator that has had more than his share of loss and darkness in his past. A recovering alcoholic, Rhys (Russ) Morgan walks a fine line between falling back into the sinking pit that is his addiction to drink and helping others regain control over their lives by offering his investigative skills on the open market. There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to Morgan and his hidden talents are quite impressive to say the least.
Russ Morgan has an edge when it comes to sussing out if his clients are telling him the truth. It turns out he is an empath. Because he has the ability to see a defined aura that spikes in different colors when a client lies or responds with any type of emotion, Russ’ job is all the easier to do when it comes to getting to the bottom of a mystery. However, the latest case he is presented with throws up all types of roadblocks and deals with something that hits quite close to home for the quiet and thoughtful PI.
Someone is sending the Reverend Howard Richardson letters containing song lyrics that clearly indicate that the secrets the Reverend has buried are about to be exposed. The lyrics talk about the torture and pain a person has endured and the fact that no bad deed stays hidden or unpunished for long. After getting past the smug and homophobic Andrew Kommen, the family’s private attorney, and gaining access to the pompous, holier than thou reverend himself, Russ discovers that the assumptions made about the letters being aimed at Richardson’s son are not quite accurate. As he interviews each family member it is quickly apparent who is sending the threatening letters and who they are actually intended for–something not clear to the good Reverend at the beginning of the story. When Russ finally confronts the culprit, the revelations that are made known and the horror that has been endured is so deep and repulsive that it literally blew me away.
For a short novella, Enigma packed a wallop. It utterly captured me, the characters so well delineated and believable, the story so very compelling and gut-wrenching. I am so very glad that this has all the markings of an ongoing series because I want to read more about this investigator. In this first installment, his back story is just touched upon, little clues dropped here an there for you to grab up greedily as you become more and more involved in this man’s life. I love the slight paranormal leaning to the story. Rather than make it fantastical or unbelievable, I felt the special empathic abilities author Meeker gave to Russ actually created a fascinating arc in what could have been a run of the mill detective story. I must admit Russ tore at my heart and sparked my imagination and the story was such that I was drawn in from the very beginning.
Enigma was an incredibly well written and exciting new mystery story by author Lloyd A. Meeker. I highly recommended it to you and, frankly, I personally cannot wait for the next installment in this thrilling new mystery series.