This tenth in the series opens with concerns by some that the Blacklin County Jail is haunted. Sheriff Rhodes doesn’t believe it but, as the Dispatcher Hank Jensen points out, the guys back in the cells believe “and that’s all that matters.” (Page 1) Rhodes doesn’t believe much in computers either though he does admit that occasionally they do help a little bit.
It’s only fitting on a dark and stormy day and with talk of ghosts that Sheriff Rhodes gets called out to the cemetery. Clyde Ballinger has called in to report a dead man in one of the graves at the cemetery. The grave had been opened for Travis McCoy and the burial is planned for later in the day. But, the man in the open grave is Ty Berry who had been the President of the Clearview Sons and Daughters of Texas.Â The group was devoted to the preservation of the history of the city of Clearview and Blacklin County and frequently found itself at odds with the local citizenry on one issue or another. Preserving the past costs money and a lot of folks simply don’t care about history or the past.
Recently somebody has been looting the twelve cemeteries in the county and Ty Berry was organizing volunteer patrols, pushing commissioners for security for the cemeteries, and lots of other things that annoyed some folks. Shot dead and dumped in the open grave, his murder is going to cause political repercussions for Rhodes. He is going to have to talk to people who aren’t going to want to deal with the messy issue of murder because it is so beneath their station in life while others either hated the man or just didn’t care and don’t have the time or patience to be bothered.
Then there is the pesky problem that the motorcycles are back. People are reporting the rumbling of tail pipes which in all likelihood means one thing â€“ Rapper is back.
Weaving these threads and others author Bill Crider creates another solid entry in the Sheriff Rhodes series. No character development or evolution of the main or secondary characters happens in this cozy style novel. And no forensics of the style they do on television in a splashy forty-five minutes. No, this book and the series as a whole is old fashioned police work where the guilty are usually caught by way of a web of lies.
Progress may have come to the East Texas County in the form of Wal-Mart and downtown Clearview might be dying because of it, but the police work is old school investigation led by Sheriff Rhodes. Rhodes digs into the case by frequently asking questions of characters we have seen many times before in other books in the series, poking around crime scenes and elsewhere, and knowing folks. Some live, some die, and progress continues to whittle away at the Clearview of Rhodes youth and yet he continues on dealing with just the things he can control and trying not to worry about the things he can’t. There is a lesson in all that along with another good story in a series that is steadily good book after book.
A Ghost Of A Chance: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery
Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin’s Minotaur)
This material was obtained through the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2009
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