The Praying Mantis

Polish Dragon P. I.

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
104 Pages
Reviewed on 07/08/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers' Favorite

The Praying Mantis (Polish Dragon P. I.) by Steve Zimcosky is set in Cleveland. Tom Sipowicz, a private detective known as The Polish Dragon, takes on a case where he has to try to prevent a relic from being stolen by The Praying Mantis. With help from his partner, Suzie Mandrake, Tom discovers a valuable relic in a nearby church. He meets with Cleveland FBI agent Stacey Leung, who discusses the relic at St. Stanislaus Church. Father Clarence reports the relic stolen, and through his investigation, Tom discovers that the relic has been offered to The Gatherer, an antiquities trafficker in Krakow, Poland. Will Tom be able to prevent the theft and stop The Praying Mantis from stealing a valuable relic?

The Praying Mantis is an intriguing and unusual story. Author Steve Zimcosky has created a fast-paced page-turner that keeps the reader enthralled from beginning to end. I especially enjoyed this story because it is a short, quick read. The characters, including the PI, the FBI agent, and The Praying Mantis, are well-defined and easy to relate to. The story is smooth flowing and comfortable to follow but has interesting surprises, twists, and turns. The Praying Mantis contains no profanities or erotic scenes, making it suitable for people of all ages. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good sleuth story but doesn’t have much time to read. I look forward to enjoying more Polish Dragon PI mystery stories by this incredible author in the future.

Olga Markova

The Praying Mantis (Polish Dragon P.I.) by Steve Zimcosky is a captivating crime story. Tom Sipowicz and Suzie Mandrake are private detectives and own Polish Dragon Private Investigations. Tom receives a phone call from a mystery man who introduces himself as The Praying Mantis and tells Tom that he will steal a relic of great value that would bring a lot of money on the black market. The caller asks Tom to stop him from stealing the relic and promises to leave clues for Tom. The FBI offers no help, so Tom and Suzie start investigating independently. What is this relic? Where is it located? When is The Praying Mantis going to steal it? Will Tom and Suzie prevent this theft?

The fast-moving, action-packed plot of The Praying Mantis by Steve Zimcosky was page-turning. I liked the compact format of this novella, with the entire story only one hundred pages. I was intrigued and surprised by the genuine and unexpected climax twist. Zimcosky has excelled in making the characters of Tom and Suzie relatable and likable, be it their camaraderie in investigating the case or their shared enjoyment of dim sum at the Chinese restaurant. But most of all, I liked the insights into the origins and history of the relics Tim and Suzie were exploring as the potential targets of The Praying Mantis. This easy-to-read suspenseful light-pitched atmospheric short story will thrill crime, adventure, and action thriller fans.

Alma Boucher

The Praying Mantis (Polish Dragon P. I.) is a novella by Steve Zimcosky. A man calling himself The Praying Mantis challenged The Polish Dragon and his partner Suzie Mandrake to prevent him from stealing valuable artifacts. The Praying Mantis had followed Tom’s escapades for some time and found his knack for solving cases extraordinary. The Praying Mantis gave them a chance to solve a case involving an event that had yet to occur. The Praying Mantis was planning to steal something of great value, and his buyer was willing to pay a great deal for it. The artifact would also fetch a high price on the black market. Tom and Suzie were given clues, and Tom would have to revisit a role from his younger days. Will the Polish Dragon defeat the Praying Mantis, or will he fall short and permit the relics to be taken and sold on the black market?

The Praying Mantis (Polish Dragon P. I.) by Steve Zimcosky is intriguing. It is fast-paced with unexpected twists. The length of the story made it an easy read without sacrificing any of the storyline. I was hooked from the first page. The tension and suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. All the developments had me guessing until the end. My curiosity would not let me put it down and I had to know what would happen next. The characters are well-developed and robust. Tom and Suzie were authentic and relatable. The story was brilliantly written, and mystery and suspense were masterfully intertwined. The ending was a big surprise and exceeded all my expectations.

Gary W.

Once again I love how Steve bases his stories in his old neighborhood. It brings back great memories, like playing ball at Morgana, and the donkey basketball games that were a common fundraiser back then. And of the great restaurants of Chinatown and some of the churches of Greater Cleveland. Always great to hear him talk about South High and his times there.

A Teacher

I love reading the books of Steve Zimcosky.
They deliver great story telling and a feel for interweaving deeper meaning into the story on the surface. Excellent books!