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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.