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Reviewed by Maria Victoria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
The Body in the Barrel by Richard Opper is a gripping crime novel set in San Diego in the early 1970s. The story unravels as harbor police officer Gary Reines receives a radio call from the vessel Lady Lynn to report that they have spotted a barrel floating in the sea. He proceeds to the vessel, instructs them to pull it up on deck, and discovers a body inside. A detective soon finds that there is a business card on the body of the victim from a local bar called Tell No Tales, owned by Mona Oakheart, who is also a producer of X-rated movies. The investigation that follows brings Gary and Mona together as they face threats from San Diego’s conservative council and the Chinese Tong mafia. The case also exposes a chequered past that Mona has kept buried for so long.
Richard Opper’s The Body in the Barrel is a captivating and unusual murder mystery story narrated from a first-person perspective. The author takes us on a tour of the seedy underworld of 1970s San Diego with his descriptive literary style. With highly interesting and believable characters, the story comprises a series of twists and turns that are more vivid because they are revealed from the points of view of the characters involved. In this engrossing murder mystery, we find ourselves completely embroiled in dangerous and difficult situations with Mona and Gary after the discovery of the body. This book is a must-read, especially for fans of murder mystery stories. Highly recommended!