M. S. KARL – Death Notice. Pete Brady #2. St. Martin’s Press, hardcover, 1990. No paperback edition.

   The second case involving Pete Brady as a retired New Orleans crime reporter, now the editor of a small weekly newspaper in Louisiana — murder and arson just seem to follow some people, no matter where they go. I missed the first one, but this one’s a humdinger.

   This one begins when a paroled killer is unaccountably allowed to return to the town in which the murder occurred. Doing nothing but sit on his front porch, he simply allows subsequent events to happen as they will, in ultra high intensity. This one really is a page turner.

   Even better, it’s actually a detective story. There are clues, lots of them, and lots of false trails too. Lots of promise here. The only weakness, as far as I’m concerned, is that the basic setting is that of corrupt politics, crooked politicians and the money grubbing political bosses that back them. My first reaction was that of disbelief, that Karl was overdoing it by a factor of ten — but then again, just maybe not, considering that this is the country that also hatched Huey Long.

   Under the name of M. K. Shuman (real name Malcolm Shuman), Karl writes another series of detective novels with PI Micah Dunn as the leading character. Dunn’s beat is New Orleans, and if this book is any indicator, that may be a series worth looking into as well.

— Rewritten and revised from Mystery*File #20, March 1990.

      The Pete Brady series —

1. Killer’s Ink (1988)
2. Death Notice (1990)
3. Deerslayer (1991)