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Reviewed by Janelle Fila for Readers' Favorite
When Tiffanie Bate is killed in a suspicious accident, neither the police nor the insurance investigators can prove she was murdered and the case turns cold. Two years later the insurance company asks former college professor turned private eye, Ray Courage, to reopen the investigation. Garrett Bate, the husband, ostensibly has the perfect alibi, but Ray's digging for the truth in this matter puts his life in danger.
I like the premise of Courage Begins: A Ray Courage Mystery Novella by R. Scott Mackey. While I haven't read any of the Ray Courage mysteries, this novella is a prequel to the series to show the reader how Ray got his start and to show off some of his investigating techniques. (I also love the character's name and the play on Courage in the titles, very smart!) The idea of reopening a cold case is a really clever way to introduce this character and I liked the fact that the author was going back and giving his fans a little history on a character that he already knows so well.
I thought the writing was really done well. It was a nice balance between dialogue and description. The dialogue felt really smooth and seemed genuine, and yet there was enough description in between to give the reader a really good sense of the scene. Some of the descriptions helped set the scene and tell me what was going on between the characters without having to actually be told what was going on; the key to good writing. This story was very strong and the danger level rose throughout. The anticipation made me want to keep reading and turn the pages faster so I could get to the conclusion. Kudos for a job well done.