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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
The concept of Death of a Bully by Steve Zimcosky is simple enough: following the reunion of a group of classmates, one of them is murdered. Of course, after the spouse is cleared, the immediate suspects are those with whom the victim spent his last few hours. As police question one after another, none of them emerges as the likely killer, though all of them remember how the victim, a well-established attorney and philanthropist, bullied others when they were all in school. Could one of those he bullied have carried their unrequited anger into their adult years and now acted upon it? And why? Recently turned private eye, Tom belongs to that group of friends. He is stunned with the news of the murder, and when the victim’s wife seeks his help in uncovering her husband’s murderer, he willingly obliges. Can he uncover motivations and possibly other suspects that the police haven’t yet considered?
Together with Tom, readers eagerly follow clues and ask questions when several perp possibilities arise. And like Tom, readers will be more than just a little surprised, and even saddened, when the truth is finally disclosed. As much as I enjoy getting deep into the characters in a novel, Death of a Bully was a nice change. There was some backstory provided on each of the friends, but not so much to slow down the fast pace of the plot. I liked that, along with the well-handled and frequent use of dialogue. Steve Zimcosky cleverly thought his way through this novella, pointing suspicious fingers at various people and away from the real murderer. For those readers who love the challenge of figuring out who did what, Death of a Bully is an enjoyable read.