Charlie has lost his job as a plumber and is now homeless. One day, while panhandling on a sidewalk, a man approaches Charlie, offers him forty dollars to deliver a letter to someone, and promises him forty more when he returns. Charlie can’t pass up an opportunity like this,= and accepts the envelope. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and Charlie walks into a murder scene. There’s a dead man on the floor with a knife in his back. Hightailing out of there, he’s one step ahead of the police and Charlie’s now on the run.
Charlie knows he’s been framed and is a patsy, but he doesn’t know why or by whom. He can only think of one person he can turn to, and that’s Trent, an old boyfriend. Their parting was amicable, but Trent’s not exactly excited to see him. When Charlie tells his story, Trent becomes intrigued and agrees to help. Now, the men have to figure out who framed Charlie and why, and prove he’s not the murderer. Along the way, old feelings begin to creep in. What’s going to happen when everything is over?
I love murder mysteries, so I grabbed Framed for Murder as soon as I read the blurb. I can say I liked it just fine, but I didn’t love it like I’d hoped. Charlie and Trent were two good guys finding themselves in a bad situation. Charlie had fallen on hard times. This is sad, and unfortunately, timely. He’s a 38-year-old man and companies are only interested in young blood who can be trained, but don’t need to be paid as much as someone with experience. This makes him the perfect fall guy. One of the things I like about Charlie is that he didn’t completely panic when he realized what was going on. He’s smart in how he makes his way to Trent’s office, even though the police were certainly on his tail. Of course he’s scared, but he’s able to think rationally and even help Trent to figure out what’s going on.
Trent’s a take charge kind of guy, and even though he didn’t anticipate seeing Charlie again, once he finds out what’s going on, he jumps right in to help. He doesn’t think less of Charlie because of his homelessness. I feel that’s one of his greatest qualities. Also, there is not one moment where he doesn’t believe Charlie. Trent was all in and even put himself, and his reputation, on the line.
The mystery in Framed for Murder is a decent one. It’s interesting and there’s enough detail without being overwhelming. The pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly. Who framed Charlie, and why, made sense as well. I don’t consider this to be a whodunit because it’s not necessarily a who as much as why. To me, it’s all quite compelling. Then…WHAM! It’s over. I literally said, “What the what?” I’m not going to give anything away, because even though I’m still a bit flummoxed, it’s still a good story. I’ll just tell you, I expected more.
I’m a fan of Kendrick’s writing style and it continues to please. It’s always obvious he researches his stories. The flow is easy and since Framed for Murder is written from Charlie’s POV, there’s no back and forth to keep track of. It’s always tight and full of detail with enough to be able to “see” what’s going on. However, there’s not too much as to be overwhelming. The plot is not lost in descriptions of things like rooms, clothing, accents, or any other than what’s important.
I would like to give a quick mention of the romance in Framed for Murder. Charlie and Trent are former lovers, and certainly throughout the book their feelings for each other begin growing. However, I’m not necessarily going to call it a romance novel. It’s a given there’ll be a HEA, but I feel the story is character driven and the focus is on the mystery. There are no love scenes. In fact, there’s only a kiss…a sweet kiss with the promise of more. I have absolutely no problem with this as I feel anything more would have been a gratuitous distraction.
Like I mentioned earlier, I quite liked this book. I didn’t love it, but I’m still going to recommend it. I think it will appeal to fans of mysteries and/or second chance romances. I will continue to pursue other books by Edward Kendrick.