Chasin' The Wind by Michael Haskins
Hardback: 238 pages
Publisher: Five Star, Gale Cengage Learning
The cover of Chasin' The Wind has palm trees gilded by a setting sun and a boat, silhouetted on a patch of gleaming water. All else in the peaceful scene is darkness. The cover artist perfectly captured the essence of this book, the first Mad Mick Murphy Mystery, by Michael Haskins.
Set in Key West, the darkness beneath the bright surface of this tourist mecca is revealed in the opening sequence when Murphy, former globe-trotting investigative journalist, stumbles upon the near-dead body of his friend and fellow sail enthusiast.
Haskins has a lean, spare style that gives you the facts and paints a picture of the Key West known to its denizens but rarely seen by the tourists. Forget the glitz and glamor of the other odes to Floridian excess as seen in book, television, and film. Chasin' The Wind is the real deal. It's the bite of lime in a mojito, the festering, relentless antipathy still nurtured for Fidel, and the spray of salt in your face when you're on the water.
Mick Murphy is not some unrealistic super hero sleuth. He might be the guy you pass on the street. He's known tragedy, and he's haunted by the past. He probably isn't extraordinary in his beliefs: that loyalty and friendship are everything and that justice should be sought.
Haskins has created an intelligent sleuth, and you'll get a kick out of following Mad Mick Murphy from Key West to Cuba in Chasin' The Wind. You'll wish you could hang with Murphy in a seedy bar and share a beer while you wait for the next book in this promising new series.
Small publishers are nurturing some big talent. If you're a reader, start buying some of these heretofore unknown authors on a regular basis.