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Pigeon River Blues by Wayne Zurl
A Sam Jenkins Mystery
Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.
The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.
C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.
The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.
Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate.
During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”
Pigeon River Blues by Wayne Zurl is part of the Sam Jenkins Mystery series, though this is my first time reading one of these books. When I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. I waffled back and forth a few times over whether I would continue reading. I felt like the pacing in the first half of the book was pretty slow. We had some excitement in the prologue, then it was about 80 pages before I felt like there was real action again. Typically, I don’t read that far into a story if I’m not feeling interested enough. But Wayne is a good story teller, and, even though I wasn’t totally into the story, I was interested enough to keep reading. I’m glad I did. Once the action picked up again, I was pulled into the story and really excited. I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and how the story was going to play out. I wasn’t a big fan of the way some of the characters talked. For example: “I s’pose she’s fixin’ to stay around here and mebbe bring some o’ her pur-verted women friends with her,” Mack said (page 3). It was necessary early on I think to set the tone for the characters, but it was a little hard to read throughout the whole story. Thankfully, most of the characters did not speak like that.
All in all, I enjoyed reading this Sam Jenkins mystery. It was entertaining and even managed to hold my attention when I wasn’t as interested in it as I would have liked. I felt like I was able to know the characters and understand any back stories even though I haven’t read other books in the series. The author did a nice job of really explaining the settings and the characters. I’m happy I stuck it out and I would like to read more mysteries in this series.
About the Author
Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.
Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Ten (10) of these novelettes are available in print under the titles: A Murder In Knoxville and Other Smoky Mountain Mountain Mysteries and Reenacting A Murder and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His full length novels are available in print and as eBooks: A New Prospect, A Leprechaun’s Lament, Heroes & Lovers, and Pigeon River Blues.
For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.
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