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Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite
"Coastal Empire", written by John “Rocky” Leonard, has its setting in the beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Our story begins with a murder and a big bang. When Sarah Reid walked into private investigator Robert Mercer office, he admired her beauty. She hired him to investigate her husband, Barry, a real estate tycoon, suspecting him of cheating on her. Mercer thought “her husband must be an idiot.” Could Barry be an adulterous husband or was it a case of identity theft? The investigation turned dangerous as the murder victims began to build up. Mercer, his faithful German shepherd Ox and his friend, a former Marine, go head to head with a dangerous network of scammers. They are involved in real estate scams and jewelry larceny in this exciting gumshoe mystery.
Fans of mystery will be thrilled with John Leonard’s debut novel, "Coastal Empire". His characters are well done especially the lead, Robert Mercer. Mercer has more than a bit of attitude; he is acerbic and a skeptic which makes him perfect for this new series. "Coastal Empire" is a solid detective novel reminding me of a more current Marlowe mystery. This tale has several threads that Leonard successfully weaves together in a most unlikely manner. Like most mystery fans I tried to outguess the author but I found it impossible to figure out the ending on this one. I found it heartwarming that Leonard modeled Robert Mercer upon his father. This is the first book in the 'Robert Mercer series'. In my opinion this series will be well received. "Coastal Empire" has a lot going for it: great characterization, an exciting plot and fine language. Watch for the name John “Rocky” Leonard.