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Gary Shulze, Once Upon a Crime
Writing for CrimeSpree Magazine

I need to preface this review to talk about something that's really criminal. David Housewright's "Rushmore McKenzie" private eye series is by far one of the best ongoing mystery series out there, but it's going out of print. Leisure had picked up the first 3 in the series, but has no plans for further reprints. The same fate has befallen another favorite of ours: KJ Erickson. One notable exception, Reed Farrel Coleman, who just recently escaped oblivion thanks to Busted Flush Press.

I know you can all name some favorites of your own. It's a frustrating situation for the dealer, the author, and especially for the fans who happen upon a series in mid-stream and can't go back to its origins. I feel like telling you all to throw open your windows and holler "I'm mad as hell and won't etc. etc." but the end results would only be a bunch of sour throats and barking dogs.

But now to Housewright's new novel, Madman On A Drum, #5 in the "McKenzie" series. This guy keeps getting better, and he started out of the chute by winning the Edgar® award for 1st novel, along with a Shamus nomination, for Penance. Need I mention that it's out of print? Madman On A Drum is his best yet. Rushmore is still a bit of a babe hound, but he's reined it in some, mostly because he's caught up in a dire situation that demands all of his attention.

His best friend's daughter, who is also Rushmore's god-daughter and an heir to his sizeable estate, has been kidnapped. The girl's mother is warned by the kidnapper "no police". The mother immediately calls the police - no hesitation here - her husband's a cop. There's a million dollar ransom, which somehow the kidnappers know is readily and willingly available from McKenzie. Listening to a tape tapped by the Feds, even though electronically altered, Rush can't shake the "I know this guy" feeling, and starts digging through his fairly long list of guys out there with a grudge this large.

Eventually, Rushmore figures out who did it, the ransom is paid, and the girl is returned safely. The kidnappers suffer a bad fate, and I notice that I'm only about 2/3 done with the book. My first thought is "Oh Boy, there's more!" And is there ever.

Buy this book. Read this book. Buy lots of copies for your friends. Throw open your windows and holler "Buy David Housewright! …and while you're at it, check out KJ Erickson too!" It's a stretch, but if enough of you do it, just maybe the right people will hear you.



Dead Boyfriends
Pretty Girl Gone
Tin City
A Hard Ticket Home
Dearly Departed
Practice To Deceive

Collections Containing Housewright's Stories

Resort to Murder
Twin Cities Noir
The Silence of the Loons

For a Good Crime, Call or Write!

This page last updated March 26, 2008