Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review: As Dog is My Witness by Jeffrey Cohen (Aaron Tucker #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Funny story with a good plot
Cons: Murder plot get sidetracked by sub-plots at times.
The Bottom Line:
Doggone funny book
Great characters, good story
A pleasure to read

This Series has NOT Gone to the Dogs

Natural curiosity is not one of freelance writer Aaron Tucker's traits. So, even having solved two previous murders, it would take a lot to get him involved in a third. In this case, it takes a call from his friend Lori Shery, leader of the Asperger Syndrome (AS) support group he's part of. He owes Lori so many favors that he doesn't hesitate to look into a murder for her.

Michael Huston was shot one night while out walking his dog. The police already have a suspect in custody, Justin Fowler, a young adult with AS, a mild form of autism. And they have a good case against him, too. Justin has a fascination with guns bordering on the obsessive. The antique pistol used in the murder was found in his room. And he's confessed to the crime.

While Aaron agrees that the evidence is pretty bad, he also understands AS since his son Ethan has it. One thing he knows is that someone with the disorder would not shot a person without a very good reason. And since Justin never met Michael, there's no way he would have shot him on a whim.

Aaron starts investigating in the usual places. Michael's marriage was the model of perfection. He was well liked and had no enemies. So, who would want the man dead? Aaron's just started poking around when three goons from a legendary mobster tell him to stop. Is there a mob connection?

Meanwhile, Aaron's friend Mahoney needs Aaron's help tracking down the saboteur who is undermining him at work. The cars Mahoney has just repaired are broken again just a few minutes later. Plus, Aaron's brother-in-law and his family are coming to stay for a week. To say that Aaron doesn't get along with Howard is an understatement, and Aaron's wife Abby tries desperately to get along with Howard, sometimes turning her back on her own family in the process. Looks like it's going to be an interesting and busy week.

This is another great entry in the comedic mystery series. Once again, the first person narration is full of wry observations on the proceedings, usually filled with lots of sarcasm and one-liners. I was grinning and chuckling the entire way through.

The book tries to juggle three storylines. While it does a good job of entertaining with all of them, the story line with the visiting relatives seems to take over at times, slowing down the murder investigation. That's not to say the pace ever lagged. No matter how late I was reading, I had a hard time putting this book down. The murder case does have a couple of nice twists as well, and I never saw the ending coming.

Aaron's family has always been a draw in this series. Because of Howard's visit, they get more page time then in past books. Aaron's relationship with Abby has always been wonderful. Even with the problems they go through here, I still love this portrait of a happy marriage. Ethan's AS has always been present, but it is really developed in this book, and I finally began to understand the disorder.

This series is another winner for those who like their mysteries with a liberal dose of humor and As Dog Is My Witness will entertain them perfectly.

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