Sunday, January 22, 2023

Review: Dogtown: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen

It is early January 2021 as the latest in the Willie Black Series, Dogtown, begins. Covid is raging in Richmond, Virginia, and the newspaper industry continues its slow slide to oblivion. For now, Willie Black still has a job to do. He covers the crime beat, day or night, for the local paper. That means that the discovery of the body on a hill that gives a nice view of Richmond’s skyline is on his beat.


The dead white guy isn’t the first person to die in the new year. He just might be the first to die by savage slash to the throat. A cut so vicious it almost took his head off. He is also probably the first to lose a finger after death.


He won’t be the last.


The murder of a 58-year-old plumber will the first of several linked killings over the next days and weeks. Reporter Willie Black chases the story and its ramifications because once again the police have the wrong suspect in custody thanks to heavy pollical pressure. As the murders continue, he chases the story against the backdrop of Covid and its effect along with ongoing societal issues in Richmond.


This is the latest solidly good installment of a series that does not get near enough attention. Societal issues of various types along with the slow ongoing demise of the newspaper industry servs as the background to numerous instances of murder in this series. More than once, those factors lead to the arrest and incarceration of the innocent and poor.


Such is true here in Dogtown: A Willie Black Mystery.


While it is always recommended by this reviewer to read in order, the allusions to previous events and stories in this book are minimal. That means that with the majority of the read referencing current events in January 2022 with a minimum of backstory, one could safely read this one first if so desired.


Either way, Dogtown: A Willie Black Mystery by Howard Owen is a solidly good read.


My reading copy was an ARC sent to me by The Permanent Press last Fall with no expectation of my review. 


Kevin R. Tipple ©2023

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