In his prime, spry senior Truman Kicklighter had been a first-rate reporter for the Associated Press. But not even the hottest story from his newshound days can rival the recent goings-on at the sleepy Fountain of Youth Residential Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The author of the mysteries starring Southern cleaning service owner Callahan Garrity stumbles with this series launch introducing Truman Kicklighter, widower and former AP reporter living in the Fountain of Youth Residence Hotel in St. Petersburg, Fla. Truman has lots on his plate here as a bogus evangelist announces plans to take over the hotel and evict the retirees who don't buy their apartments. Then his best friend, a man whose decline into Alzheimer's is appallingly speedy, is accused of killing a young woman tout at the dog track. Aided by a feisty young Fountain of Youth waitress named Jackleen, Truman tries to uncover the evangelist's scam and find the tout's murderer. The latter effort, centering around the missing computer disk with the murder victim's new betting program, takes him up against the evangelist's brassy, ambitious secretary, a couple of low-life thugs for hire and a representative of organized crime. Trocheck's cast is depicted in broad strokes, their pluck and gameness colored with a patronizing wash. This one's a disappointment in both scattershot plotting and primary-color characterization.
This might just be one of the worst books I've ever attempted to read. Too many undeveloped characters, a storyline that is impossible to follow make for a severe headache. Avoid!