Murder by the Numbers

A Joshua Oates Adventure

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
331 Pages
Reviewed on 01/23/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Murder by the Numbers by Steve Leshin is a historical murder mystery and the fifth book in the Joshua Oates Adventure series, preceded by Vengeance of the Ripper, Target of Fear, A Darker Shade of Greed, and The Killer's Code. As with the others, the protagonist is former police squad leader turned private investigator, Joshua Oats. Now in New York, Oates is thrown three hitches in quick succession: an envelope of cash, a ransacked office, and the death one Roger Astor, the latter both being not who Oates knew him to be and leading to suspicion that it wasn't a cut and dry heart attack, and the blink and you'll miss it abduction of Madeleine Astor. Set during the 1920s Prohibition era and complete with tommy guns and mafioso led by a French national, and with names like Hacksaw Hank, Nick the Nose, and Tony Two Times, Oates is roped back in as a government contractor to help solve the connected murder and arms dealing cases, neither of which are anything like they seem.

And the Academy Award for the best ancillary character in a book series goes to Bruno the enforcer! I think one of the areas that author Steve Leshin is most skilled in is the development of characters and this is as apparent as ever in Murder by the Numbers. With Joshua Oates, a reader has the benefit of the long game. He is, after all, the name on the book jacket. The same goes for those who share continuity between the stories like love interest Angie Lang. The characters that have to be developed on the fly are the most impressive, and antagonist Adrian Desharde and his right-hand Bruno are so exceptional that you almost care about them at first. Leshin throws some spanners in the works and a couple of red herrings, both the character and plot twists, and the narrative and dialogue suit the time period deliciously. Lovers of classic fiction will be tickled by characters that sound like they jumped out of a James Bond novel, like the triple barrel Germanically named Darla Von Hatteburg. Somewhere out in the afterlife, Ian Flemming is nodding in appreciation and saying, “Well played, Leshin. Well played.” Very highly recommended.