Review of DEAD END by Gerald W Darnell

A Carson Reno Mystery
Gerald W. Darnell

Carson Reno is mystified when his friend Jack Logan asked him to ‘protect’ Cletus Wormlee
until Cletus can testify before the Memphis Grand Jury.  Cletus’ situation doesn’t make sense to
Reno, and when he moves Cletus to Humbolt, Tennessee for his protection, Cletus sneaks away
and seems to fall victim to a shotgun blast.  But does he? And, what role does private
investigator Lilly Longstreet, ‘working’ for an associate of Cletus’, play in Cletus’ apparent
death? Just who the hell is Hampton Forbes anyway, and why does he keep hounding Reno and
Longstreet looking for Cletus’ personal belongings?

The stage is set for another 1960’s era nostalgic Carson Reno, private investigator, mystery in
and around the Memphis area of western Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. Liberally sprinkled
with nostalgic photos of many of the buildings, vehicles and other landmarks from a bygone era,
the author weaves a fine mystery tale in and out through the streets of Memphis and Humbolt,
leading out to places like Jonesboro, Amagon and the isolation of the rice fields of eastern
Arkansas. Laced with characters whose personalities blend perfectly into a sixties era detective
story, avid readers of the genre can often predict what the characters will do or say; and are not
disappointed when the characters perform as expected.

Dead End is very entertaining, quick to read and provides real tension until the very end.  As a
story, it is a fine representative of the genre that is bound be appreciated by aficionados of classic
detective stories. The nostalgic photos reinforce the images in the reader’s mind, while providing
a glimpse into the author’s thoughts as well. They are fun even if slightly distracting. However,
the copy I reviewed contained a number of typographical errors; not enough to be distracting, but
enough to warrant very careful proofreading. Overall, Dead End is a very good entertaining
mystery story.

Clabe Polk

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