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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Murder of Paolo Mancuso: A Joey Mancuso, Father O'Brian Crime Mystery, Book 5 is a hard-boiled sleuth mystery novel written by Owen Parr. While this is the fifth book in Parr’s series, the author gives enough background information within the story for it to be enjoyed as a standalone novel. When Tony (The Hammer) Falcone called Joey to his deathbed at Rikers Correctional Center, he gave Joey a name, Wetherley Stevens, and he told him to look in Barcelona. Joey had been waiting twenty years for a clue, any clue that could help him understand why there had been a hit placed on his father. Joey had been sixteen years old then, and thought of himself as part of the family. He had been there in that bar in Little Italy, with his dad and Tony the Hammer, when the man walked in and shot Tony and Joey’s dad. Tony survived, but Joey’s dad didn’t. Joey couldn’t understand why the family didn’t seek vengeance, nor did the police seem to do much to apprehend the killer, and the case quickly was consigned to the cold case files. Now, Tony’s deathbed confession finally gave Joey something to work with, and he was determined to find the answers which had so long evaded him.
The Murder of Paolo Mancuso is a tense and gripping tale about vengeance and a son’s need to understand the facts behind his father’s murder. This is the first Joey Mancuso, Father O'Brian book that I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be the last. Parr quickly familiarized me with the main characters in his series, and I loved being in sunny Barcelona along with Joey as he investigates the Wetherley Stevens' clue. Parr’s Joey Mancuso speaks in the first person, a device that made me feel as if I were privy to his every thought and plan, and it was quite effective in keeping up the suspense. Parr’s characters are everything I could hope for in a detective/private eye series. Father Dom works quite well as Joey’s older brother and business partner, and Agnes, their office manager and “hacker extraordinaire,” is a perfect complement to the two brothers. The plot keeps the reader thinking, puzzling facts out along with Joey and being not quite sure what is going to happen throughout, and it is a positive delight for the armchair sleuth who likes their mysteries anything but cozy. And yes, I had a grand time reading this book. The Murder of Paolo Mancuso: A Joey Mancuso, Father O'Brian Crime Mystery, Book 5 is most highly recommended.