The Ambiguity of Guilt

A Haszard Narrative

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
260 Pages
Reviewed on 03/25/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Ambiguity of Guilt: A Haszard Narrative is a humorous sleuth mystery novel written by Kevin E. Hatt. While this is not the first novel in Hatt's Haszard Narrative Series, the author gives enough background information to allow it to be read as a stand-alone novel. Haszard and Sabrina had just left their friend, Grace, at her new house, when he got a rather anxious call from her. Someone had just tried to break into her house. Grace had chased them away with her Desert Eagle, a powerful and rare handgun that somehow only Grace would have had in her possession, and she seemed fine when they arrived, if a bit shaken by the experience. She told them that the fellow she shot at had run away. She had lost track of the other intruder who was actually still in the house. He suddenly came barreling out of the dining room, but Haz, Sabrina and Grace together made short work of his escape and had him neatly tied up and waiting for the police. Haszard and Sabrina still didn't quite get why Grace had bought this house in the first place. It was, after all, not a summer home nor a vacation getaway in the mountains -- it was literally across the street from her own home. Grace explained that it was an investment, a project, a toy that she would fix up and make a tidy profit from. The previous owners had left it some three years ago, and it was in rather rough shape, but could be fixed. But why were these intruders so interested in the place? Could there be something of value hiding behind a false wall or in an attic or basement? However, could Haszard resist finding exactly that out?

Kevin E. Hatt's humorous sleuth mystery, The Ambiguity of Guilt: A Haszard Narrative, is a fast-moving frolic as intrepid amateur sleuths, Haszard, Sabrina and their extended family, try to ascertain the truth about the mysterious family who had lived in Grace's new house and left a number of tantalizing secrets behind. Along the way, the three of them are persuaded to pose as nude models, and they just happen to discover a priceless cache of rare wines and champagne. Hatt's characters lead lives that would exhaust the ordinary mortal: endless parties, hostile interactions with the authorities and frequent exchanges of blows and bullets with any number of bad guys, but they always seem ready and raring to go the next morning. At times, the parties and non-stop snarkiness reminded me of the madcap antics of Hammett's Nick and Nora Charles, and that's a good thing. I especially enjoyed the art theme which ran throughout the story as well as the mystery of the hidden goodies they find in Grace's new house -- after all, who doesn't thrill at the thought of priceless loot in old houses? The Ambiguity of Guilt: A Haszard Narrative will keep you guessing as Haszard and the gang try to solve yet another strange mystery and have a good time as they do it. It's highly recommended.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

The Ambiguity of Guilt by Kevin E. Hatt is an outlandish mystery. Haszard has an eclectic group of friends. Always having each other’s back, they work and party together. When Grace’s new house is broken into, Haz and Sabrina rush to her rescue. The break-in opens the door to a trail of mystery beyond belief. As the group begins the renovation, hidden treasures are revealed. There is something extraordinary about this house and its previous owners. Grace’s new investment has an untold story to tell, and Haz is determined to hear it out. It is no surprise, however, that trouble soon follows. Hazard has a “talent for mayhem.” The more Haz and his friends investigate, the more dangerous solving the mystery becomes. The danger is no deterrent; after all Haszard is his name. He can’t just let it go; Haz has an “obsession for explaining the unexplained.” The more he finds out, the more he needs to know.

Zany! The Ambiguity of Guilt contains the perfect amount of mystery and madness! Written in first person, the story is told from the perspective of its hero - Haszard. His point of view keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. The underlying theme is encompassed with this line: “the past should never be allowed to haunt in the way it does.” The Ambiguity of Guilt overflows with British humor and wit. The narrative is spiked with a measure of scandal, stirred up with surprising antics, yet offset with elements of intrigue and danger. It contains lots of characters, but each one is necessary in solving the mystery. As an American, I appreciate the attention to detail regarding the setting of the narrative, especially regarding the architecture (I love how the homes have names, e.g. Falcon’s Retreat). Hatt’s descriptions transport the reader, placing them within the heart of the scene. As I read, I could hear the British accent in the dialogues. The action is non-stop, the suspense captivating, and the merriment within the mystery uplifting! Gotta love the Brits, they can resolve any problem over a cup of tea.

Deborah Lloyd

A modern-day mystery novel in England, the eighth in a series, is the setting for this delightful tale. The main character, Haz, short for his last name Haszard, works in an operating theater, but loves to get entangled in mysterious happenings. He lives with his significant other, Sabrina, and they have a large group of friends who spend most evenings together at one of their homes, or the local pub. Their friend, Grace, bought a new home that was full of surprises – many valuable antiques, a cellar full of exquisite wines – and a dead body. All leads seemed to point to the previous owner and family. But, as time goes on, it is uncertain if the family members are the criminals or the victims. Haz and his friends embark on a journey of discoveries with unforeseen dangers in The Ambiguity of Guilt: A Haszard Narrative, written by Kevin E. Hatt.

The scenes of panic and dread are well-balanced with many humorous and entertaining moments. The reader will laugh out loud at some of the antics of Haz and friends. A good mystery writer plants clues within the story line, and Mr. Hatt does this with ease. The many characters in the story are developed well, and the dialogue is realistic. Kevin E. Hatt, author of The Ambiguity of Guilt: A Haszard Narrative, presents an engaging fictional work. The reader will want to read the other books with these characters, if this is the first Haszard Narrative adventure. This book is a delicious, fun read!