Thursday, April 11, 2024

Review: "Pretty Girl Gone" by David Housewright


Pretty Girl Gone
by David Housewright
Minotaur Books, 2006



Pretty Girl Gone, David Housewright’s entertaining third Rushmore McKenzie mystery, finds McKenzie doing a favor for his old high school friend, Lindsay Barrett. Lindsay’s husband, Jack, is the newly elected governor of Minnesota. Lindsay panics when she receives an unsigned email warning her that if Jack runs for the U.S. Senate, he will be exposed for murdering his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth Rogers.
     Jack was a basketball star—he led his tiny high school team, known as the Minnesota Seven, to a state championship during his senior year—and Elizabeth was the most beautiful girl in school. The night before the championship game, Elizabeth was found strangled to death and her murder was never solved. Lindsay asks McKenzie to find who sent the email. He quickly tracks the IP address, from where the email originated, to a copy and print store in Victoria, Minnesota. When McKenzie arrives in the small town, he is stonewalled by pretty much everyone, except for the sexy interim police chief, Danny Mallinger. Along the way McKenzie decides he needs to solve the decades old murder to fulfill his promise to Lindsay.
     Pretty Girl Gone is a captivating tale loaded with duplicity, doubt, cunning—not necessarily McKenzie’s—red-herrings, bad decisions—mostly McKenzie’s—and enough action and mystery to keep almost every reader satisfied. Housewright adeptly explores the issues of race and racism in the form of immigration discontent without losing sight of the primary mystery. The setting, as always in this series, is bright and central to the narrative; this time giving the reader an experience with a bleak winter in smalltown Minnesota. McKenzie is a smart-aleck, tough, often rash, and always fallible, which gives him just the right mix for reader likability. Pretty Girl Gone is a solid entry in the series, which begs for the reader to find the next McKenzie book.

Click here for the Kindle edition and here for the paperback at Amazon.

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